Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm and Thames View

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GP drop-in clinics – meet the dream team

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the brains behind the GP drop-in clinics: Lucy Lee, local resident and health outreach officer for Thames Life, Zoinul Abidin, head of universal services at LBBD and GP Dr. Jagan John from Aurora Medcare. I got to find out more about who they are, what made them the team to carry out the clinics, now funded by Barking Riverside Ltd. (BRL) and get a flavour of their heart and passion for their jobs. I got to speak to them using the new podcast room at the Thames View Community Hub, so to listen to the full interview, click here.

The clinics have been a partnership between the council, local GP, BRL and local community groups to find holistic solutions to their general health and wellbeing issues. We have seen a few themed clinics happening in the borough since the main bulk of Thames View & Barking Riverside clinics ended in December ‘23, but thanks to funding from BRL, a new series is about  to start again in May and I for one can’t wait! Below are some snippets of my conversation with  the dream team.  

How did you know this team was right to make the clinics a success?

Z: It’s like getting married; when you get into any kind of relationship you have to find someone with similar values, ethics and a similar way of doing things as you. If we each just performed based on the professional hats we wear then we wouldn’t be able to do it and make the greatest impact for residents and that’s been the key thing for us. Once we found each other, we knew this was the best way to do it. 

L: That’s true, it’s the chemistry and the same values for all of us. But I also think we are do-ers.  It doesn’t mean we break the rules but we figure out ways around things. This is not just your  average pop-up, because we’re coming into this with pure intention, passion and understanding  of our goal and it leads us. We just figure it out no matter the issue.  

J: It is a great relationship; these guys have really bubbly personalities, they’re open-minded,  innovative leaders and it’s not just them, it’s our wider teams and sponsors too. Sometimes success breeds more problems but we’ve carried on because we all support each other and we  have gone on to do bigger and better things because of that support.  

What has been your highlight from the clinics?  

J: From a professional point of view I didn’t know what people in the council or the community  did… I learnt a lot and learnt to embrace it to be a part of the plan to treat someone and I think  that’s massive. Secondly, I was shocked at the number of people I knew that didn’t come to the  surgery for whatever reason and they have some real illnesses…  

Z: What was fascinating is people spend hours at the clinics even if they just wanted a quick  blood pressure check. But they were there an hour, two hours, which is contrary to when their 

GP appointments are running late. It’s all to do with psychology – change the environment and  vibe…. That and of course changing people’s lives.  

L: The community vibe despite the chaos sometimes, it’s happy chaos and bringing people  together. And then the gratitude that is shown just because of that is amazing. It took me a while  to receive those types of thanks because to me we’re just doing our job, but when you see the  gratitude, you’re floored. 

What can people expect from the next lot of clinics?  

L: We’re still planning!  

Z: That’s where Lucy does all the work and me and Dr. John just turn up! (laughter) 

L: We’re looking at the end of May for the first one I think. We don’t want to overwhelm  ourselves so we’ll do them every other month and spread the investment throughout the year. If  we’re going to do it, we want to do it properly. There’ll be some slight changes but nothing major  because essentially you don’t fix what’s not broken.  

So, you heard it here first! We look forward to the next series of clinics – look out for the leaflets  through your doors soon – come down and say hello. The dream team can’t wait to meet you!

Zahra Awani

Local resident and REB member

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