We are a team of GPs working part of our week in QUB. We all continue to see patients in general practice.
Dr Nigel Hart
I started medical school at Queen’s University in 1994 graduating in 1999. After completing my houseman year in the Belfast City and Royal Victoria hospitals, I entered the Northern Ireland Deanery GP training programme. Along the way in medical school I developed an interest in research (initially in relation to altitude medicine and altitude physiology) and medical education and was fortunate to gain a place in GPARTS (General Practice Academic Research Training Scheme) which was situated in the Department of General Practice on the 4th Flood of Dunluce . This gave me the opportunity to come into contact with the important role-models of Professors Margaret Cupples and Philip Reilly, and Drs Drew Gilliland, Keith Steele and Kieran McGlade. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of these people for their ecouragement and mentorship. This environment played a very important role in my development. With their support I successfully competed for a National Clinical Researcher Development Award and I completed an MD thesis in 2006. I subsequently completed a Masters degree in Medical Education.
I entered into GP Partnership in 2007 spending 8 years as a GP for the Crossgar community. These were 8 of my hardest but happiest years. During this time I held down a position of part-time Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine at Queen’s University. In 2015 I somewhat reluctantly gave up my GP Partnership to take on a more substantive role in Queen’s as a way of succession-planning for colleagues on the cusp of retiring. I now conduct my clinical work in Woodbrooke Medical Practice in West Belfast.
Why am I interested in education / academic medicine?….Madness perhaps? Well this is hard to put into words without sounding a little twee. Several years ago I learned that The word “doctor” is derived from the Latin, docco, which means “to teach.” When I read this, it made sense to me. It is part and parcel of the same motivations to be a doctor. I genuinely get a buzz out of seeing others thrive and develop through education. I believe that we all have something to teach and that in doing so we can improve the lives of many. I guess the interest in teaching again comes back to role models and their example. My current roles in Queen’s University are that I am responsible and have a remit for expansion of GP in the curriculum at Queen’s. As a result of this role I am a member of the Senior Management Team. I run the GP assistantship in final year and contribute to the teaching week attached to 4th year.
Outside work I enjoy time with my family, I spend time on most days looking after my elderly mother. I play some music (guitar and piano) and for exercise I try to get into the hills on most weekends. I enjoy cycling of all types and I am the proud owner of a Brompton fold-up bike.
Dr Jenny Johnston
Having qualified from QUB in 2003, I completed my GP training in 2009. My registrar post, in the legendary Dunluce Health Centre, offered a heady mix of research and clinical training alongside strong support and the chance to join a great team. In 2010, having been bitten by the academic bug, I joined the gang on the fourth floor as a teaching fellow. A PhD and teaching qualification followed, and in 2017 I was appointed as Senior Lecturer. With pleasing circularity, I now work in the GP practice in which I trained.
My present portfolio combines clinical practice with research and teaching. I am now an educationalist and social scientist as well as a primary care physician, roles which are entirely complementary and profoundly influence one another. My clinical passions are reflected in my academic work: social justice, social determinants of health, and healthcare of stigmatised groups. My research, all educational, aims to tackle inequality by using education as a vehicle for change. My PhD (2015) explored the challenges experienced by GPs training in hospitals, and explored the clashes of philosophy between the two worlds of primary and secondary care. This research won ASME 2016 Best Original Research Paper Award. I am currently working to extend this project, supporting a radical change to the structures of GP training and available support to trainees and newly qualified practitioners.
At home, I am married to another GP working with a deprived population, and therefore have to carefully enforce boundaries about shop talk. We are parents to a little girl who came to us with a background of early life trauma, and are strong advocates of therapeutic parenting approaches. In my spare time I like to sing in choirs, wrestle with my garden and keep old arts like crochet and baking alive. I am currently working out the best way to travel the world with a toddler in tow.
Dr Helen Reid
I grew up on the Isle of Man where I attended the local state comprehensive school. Almost all my family were teachers and I’d been incredibly squeamish as a child; they were quite surprised when I announced that I hoped to study medicine! I trained and initially worked in England, (where I met my NI raised now-husband who enticed me over here..) moving to Belfast in 2008 to complete my GP training.
GP was all I ever aspired to within clinical practice – drawn to the variety, challenge and opportunity to connect with individuals as they journey through life’s challenges. GP work never ceases to challenge and surprise me. As a Manxie who had trained and initially worked in England, Irish traditions – particularly those around death – were new to me. I’ll never forget the first time I went on a home visit to see the family of a lady I’d cared for over the last phases of life. Not only had I never seen an open coffin, I was entirely unprepared for the sight of a deceased lady in her nineties in a pink velour tracksuit. “Pink was her favourite colour doctor,” her son said to me as he tried to persuade me to take a cold cooked chicken away with me…
Supporting future generations of doctors to provide the highest levels of service to our patients and communities drives me both clinically and academically. I was lucky enough to be appointed to the GPARTs scheme in 2009 and I’ve been loitering around the amazing GPs in QUB ever since. They have been an inspiring bunch of colleagues over these years. They supported me to graduate with an MPhil in 2014 and a PhD in 2018, developing various research interests along the way. I am now forging a full-time career as a clinical academic, aiming for a balance of time in clinical practice and QUB. My current role at QUB involves leading on the year 4 GP module and supporting the expansion of GP exposure in the undergraduate curriculum. At present, I work clinically 2 days a week in Elmwood Medical Practice and other roles include postgraduate and pharmacist teaching and assessing for the GMC’s PLAB exam. My young boys and various sporting endeavours keep me out of too much trouble.
Dr Diane Wilson
I spent the early post graduate years widening my experience in General Medicine whilst studying for MRCP. I then applied for GP training and completed this over 2 years in Dunluce Health Centre whilst completing a research project and MPhil degree. A career development opportunity arose to work as a clinical teaching fellow in the Clinical Skills Centre at QUB. I have continued in that role for several years before applying for the post as Assistant Director in the Centre. I have continued working in General Practice on a part time basis and have an specialised interest in Headache and am a member of the British Association for the study of Headache. I have always had a keen interest in sport but seem to be more often of a spectator of my children’s sporting activities rather than doing as much myself now!
Dr Grainne Kearney
I graduated from Queen’s University in 2003 and started into the colourful world of venflons and incident report books, as a Junior Doctor in the Belfast City Hospital. I was accepted onto the postgraduate GP training scheme and my SHO years were spent mostly in the collegiate Mater Hospital, finishing up in RBHSC. My Registrar year was spent in the Elmwood Practice in Dunluce Health Centre, with the inspiring Dr Willis. I graduated as a GP in 2007, the last year of the “old” MRCGP. In the years since, I have worked as a Retainer GP (in Lurgan Medical Practice), a salaried GP and a sessional GP. I enjoy being a General Practitioner as I like people and I love to hear their stories. At the end of every day in primary care, something will have surprised, entertained or challenged me. I also continue to work as an Out of Hours GP and sit as a medical member on Appeal Tribunals.
I became involved in teaching in Queen’s in 2009, initially in the Clinical Skills Education Centre and later in Clinical Communication and in the General Practice module. To support this interest, I undertook my Masters in Clinical Education part time, whilst working as a GP and having my third baby! After graduating in 2014, any hope that my curiosity for medical education research would have been satiated was dashed when I started a PhD in 2016. In this research, I am taking a critical look at OSCEs, something I suspect many of us have done over the years. I officially moved over to what my friends call “The Dark Side” in 2018 when I took up a Clinical Teaching Fellow role in Queen’s. When I (hopefully) finish my PhD, I will work full time as an Academic GP, dividing my week between clinical practice, teaching and research. For me, these three aspects of my work support and drive each other; I enjoy the combination immensely. I am excited to be involved in QUBGP at this time of GP expansion and look forward to lead in the Family Attachment and Family Medicine parts of the curriculum. I am married (to a GP!) with three young children so spend much of my time as a taxi service for their busy social lives. I enjoy Pilates and spending time with my friends, many of whom I met as an undergraduate at Queen’s University.
Dr Jim McMullan
I was born third son to a large family in the Glens of Antrim. My Dad was a teacher; my mum had been an air hostess. I wanted to be a doctor since primary school. There were no medics in my family , but my parents and some of my teachers encouraged my enthusiasm. In 1986 I was accepted to do medicine in Queen’s, and in the summer of 1991 I graduated. I had mixed experiences during my GP attachments , but thankfully I was “rescued” by a GP who remains a friend and mentor to this day- Dr Gerry Lundy. He inspired me to think GP. I did my Junior Doctors rotation-Houseman’s year –F1 in new speak, in Daisy Hill , as their GP rotation was excellent. I have been a full time GP in the Southern Trust for 26 years. During the early part of my GP work , I ws approached by our local Pain Consultant to help him at clinics. I have worked as a GPWSI in Chronic Pain in Belfast Regional Pain Centre and for the past nine years in the Southern Trust team.
I hosted my first medical student just after my first daughter was born- she is now 20! That first student is now a senior consultant , whom I can still call my friend. We were at his wedding , and, true story – he married our babyminder’s sister! Teaching is a two way educational street, especially in these young intelligent men and women. It is a privilege to help them on their journey, just as I was, all those years ago.
I am married to a wonderful wife! I have three kids 20, 17 and 11. The oldest is studying Medicine in Queen’s and my second girl is hoping to join her soon. I love sport and now that I am too old to play hurling , my golf career has taken off. I was briefly single figures and won Captain’s day last year. My son has told me not to worry about Queen’s for him, as he will be playing for Man United!?!
Dr Louise Sands
A Queen’s graduate in 1992, I always wanted to be a GP.In 1996 I completed my training six weeks after the birth of my first child, and started as a Principal in Lisburn Health Centre two months later. The practice took medical students and I started teaching the Introductory Clinical Skills group. In 2001, I took a “year out” to live in Australia with my husband and two children as he completed his hospital specialty training. On my return, as I had always enjoyed teaching, I decided to become a GP Trainer. After 10 years in this role I took on a GP Training Programme Director role. After exactly 20 years as a GP Principal I wanted a new challenge. In 2016 I moved to sessional status and took up a new post as Associate Director for GP Career Development Scheme in NIMDTA. In this role I support doctors on the Induction and Refresher schemes, as well as the GP Retention scheme. I deliver a range of CPD events for this group and recently provided an introduction to Quality Improvement to 40 practices from across NI through the “Share” programme. I love being back as a locum in my old practice as it gives me the continuity of care that I would otherwise miss and patient contact.I started as a Clinical Teaching Fellow (CTF) at QUB in Autumn 2018. My role includes teaching medical students across the year groups, and supporting and encouraging practices in NI to be involved in developing the doctors of the next generation.I am an RCGPNI member and have represented the College on a number of committees. My areas of interest include mental health and learning disability. I also enjoy reproductive health care. I am a member of the Diabetes UK NI Advisory Committee and the Diabetes Strategic Network. I have been involved in Christian Medical Fellowship NI for many years. I enjoy quizzes, travelling and good food.
Dr Carla Devlin
I qualified from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in 2006. After completing my Foundation training I went straight into the GP Training scheme as I knew that General Practice was the area I wanted to specialise in. On completion of my GP training I started working as a Portfolio Sessional GP. In 2015 I became GP Partner in Shankill Surgery, Belfast where I had previously completed my ST3 GP Practice.
I am currently a portfolio GP Partner in Shankill Road Surgery. I have a particular interest in medical education which motivated me to study for my Masters degree in this discipline. I subsequently qualified from QUB with this degree in 2017.
I am a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, a Clinical Skills Tutor and Examiner and an undergraduate teaching tutor with responsibility for delivering the Patient Safety Course.
I am also involved in postgraduate GP teaching and am currently a NIMDTA GP Trainer and OOH Trainer. I am a GP Appraiser, Out of Hours doctor and co-chair of the North Belfast Federation. I have a keen interest in Mental Health and in prescribing within primary care. I am currently the Prescribing Chair at HSCB and work with pharmacy colleagues on local and regional prescribing issues. I also work with the ICP leads in HSCB. I have previously held the post of GP representative with the North Belfast Mental Health Hub.
My medical politics career started when I was appointed as the BMA Sessional Representative in 2012. I continued in this role until 2015. I have represented Sessional GPs in Northern Ireland at NIGPC and in London as a member of the Sessional Subcommittee. Since becoming a GP Partner, I have been elected as ELMC representative and also elected as NIGPC representative.
I continue to have a genuine enthusiasm and positivity for the medical profession and am keen to do as much as I can to ensure a brighter future for all NI GPs.
Outside work I value the quality time spent with my family and husband. Family is everything to me so I like to create lasting memories through going on holidays with them, experiencing new places and cultures while socialising and enjoying good food.