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Observations BMJ Confidential

Mike Bewick: Pet hate is “worthiness”

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 23 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2340

In the latest in its series asking the movers and shakers of the medical world about work, life, and less serious matters, The BMJ spoke to the deputy medical director of NHS England


Mike Bewick initially trained in medical oncology, then became a GP, and is now deputy medical director of NHS England. He treads a careful path, seeking change in primary care without losing the confidence of GPs (who, he admits, are “drowning”) or threatening a new top-down reorganisation. As medical director of Cumbria Primary Care Trust he led an integrated care model that was based on that of the California based innovator Kaiser Permanente. He is most likely to say, “General practice needs to change,” and least likely to add, “And I’m going to tell you exactly how.”

What was your earliest ambition?

I grew up in Cumbria, on its industrial coast. My ambition, like that of many of my generation, was to become the first family member to achieve a university place. I chose medicine as it mixed my interests in science with working with people. It’s a great career for someone who likes people and problem solving.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

The teachers who inspired me to learn and then challenged me. I always had self doubt, and they enabled me to do better than ever I had hoped for.

What was your biggest mistake?

Leaving London too soon as a …

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