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Dr Gabriel Hendow, an award-winning member of Medical Protection

Post date: 16/12/2019 | Time to read article: 3 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 17/12/2019

Dr Hendow works in Hull and is a member of Medical Protection. He was voted ‘GP of the Year’ in the coveted national General Practice Awards for 2018 for his innovative approach to making Hull and its residents healthier, and for establishing a number of clinics at his practice, based in the Bransholme Health Centre.

In December 2017, Dr Hendow, 73, was invited to meet Theresa May, then Prime Minister, at No 10, as he was shortlisted for the Health Hero awards. In 2016, he was the only single-handed GP in the country to be awarded “Overall Outstanding” in all areas by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

He also won the Health Care Award Hull in 2016, and in 2017 was awarded the RCGP Celebrating Good Practice Award.

“My father always said to me, ‘don’t just be a GP, be a family doctor’. I didn’t understand but after years of hard work and changing the way we approach patient care, I now appreciate what he meant,” said Dr Hendow. “Being a doctor isn’t just about handing someone a prescription, it’s about getting to know each person – their medical/social background and history – that’s when you can truly get to know what your patient needs.”

For Dr Hendow, this award represents a true team effort, and his practice manager Tina Cheyne agrees that all the team share his focus on “holistic patient care and wellbeing”.

Working in Hull

“I worked as an orthopaedic registrar for several years before deciding to become a GP,” adds Dr Hendow. “After becoming increasingly frustrated with the GP training system I decided to find a way to do the training myself. Once I had qualified it was still hard to find a permanent job working as a GP throughout the country.

“Hull, however, did give me the opportunity and therefore my wife and I, who at the time was five months pregnant with triplets, moved to this great city and on 1 October 1992 I became a single-handed GP working in the Bransholme Health Centre.”

Innovative clinics

“Five years ago I learnt Hull City Council were offering a food program, so I approached them with the idea to establish a food clinic within my surgery,” says Dr Hendow.

A company called ABL provided the practice with a cookery teacher, the council provided pots and pans, and local suppliers provided food and vegetables at a reduced cost. It became the first food clinic in the country within a GP surgery and was recognised locally and nationally.

Patients learnt how to cook and how to read labels, and were taught about nutrition, salt, sugar, oil and fat contents, and how to eat healthily. Patients reported losing weight and the success of this clinic led the team to introduce an in-house ‘exercise clinic’.

They later set up a ‘teenage health clinic’ to address the complicated medical/social needs of their younger patients, including advice relating to sexual health. The clinic proved very popular and successful with families and, since its introduction, there hasn’t been a single unwanted teenage pregnancy for a practice patient.

Following this, the ‘121 Social Prescribing Clinic’ was launched. This service enables patients to have a face-to-face consultation with a positive engagement practitioner, giving them the opportunity to discuss their personal complex difficulties in the comfortable private surgery environment.

Practice manager Tina has played a key part in organising these clinics and designing clinical templates for Dr Hendow to use. Using the templates, patients can effectively be referred to the appropriate ‘in-house service’ for their requirements. 

Dr Hendow says: “These templates became invaluable when we introduced our ‘HMS Hull’ home monitoring service, which is run by a retired member of staff. Housebound, vulnerable and frail patients are offered a home monitoring visit to address their needs. Having a friendly face check in on them gives them reassurance and a platform where they can ask for help.”

So, what’s next for the award-winning team?

Dr Hendow and Tina have a couple of new ideas for the coming year: “The first new service will be to address the mental health difficulties in newly diagnosed diabetic patients. We want to set up a dedicated clinic addressing and managing their needs.

“The second is around an in-house service for weight management, as recently the tier 1 and 2 weight programmes in Hull have come to an end. These sessions will be tailored to the patients’ individual needs and will be offered to family members as appropriate.”

An award-winning member

Dr Hendow has been a Medical Protection member since 1978.

“They’ve always been supportive and look after my practice manager and practice nurse as part of my subscription. Along the years I have occasionally had the need to speak to an expert – they are always positive and very helpful.

“Some time ago while travelling on a plane I was asked to assist a passenger who had been taken ill; upon my return I telephoned Medical Protection to clarify the medicolegal position of my involvement.

“The advice I was given was positive, helpful, informative and to the point – Medical Protection always go the extra mile.”

Tina added: “Whenever I have needed general advice regarding employment/HR law changes for the practice, they have been quick to respond and very helpful.”

Published as Award winning members in our print publication, Practice Matters.

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