Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Interview

Sarah Wollaston: from GP to MP

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 19 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6905
  1. Krishna Chinthapalli, associate editor
  1. 1BMJ, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  1. kchinthapalli{at}

The doctor turned politician tells Krishna Chinthapalli about working in parliament and why she believes her party made a huge mistake dropping its commitment to a minimum unit price for alcohol

“I’m the same person, but when you change your initials from GP to MP, just that one letter, the biggest shock is the change in how people feel about you,” says Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP for Totnes, in Devon. “The difference is that as a GP people are inclined to trust you and like you until proven otherwise, whereas as an MP people are inclined to mistrust you until proven otherwise.”

Four years ago, Wollaston, a mother of three, was working as a GP in Devon and had attended no political party events. Despite this, she stood as a parliamentary candidate for the 2010 elections. She knew then that trust would be a key asset and during the campaign wrote “In the current atmosphere of cynicism and mistrust of politicians, I hope the electorate of Totnes will vote for someone they feel has real life experience, can appreciate their needs and whom they …

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