Stroud's new MP cutting back GP work to tackle NHS

A man with white hair and a stethoscope around his neck
Dr Simon Opher says he will be cutting down his hours as a GP [BBC]

Stroud's new Labour MP, Dr Simon Opher, says he will cut down his hours spent as a GP and make fixing the NHS a priority.

Dr Opher won the seat from Conservative Siobhan Baillie after Thursday's election.

He won 25,607 votes while the previous MP since 2019, Conservative Siobhan Baillie, won 14,219 votes.

"I've been a GP here for about 30 years and I've been trying to improve people's health and I've come to realisation that to really improve people's health the solutions are really political rather than medical," Dr Opher said.

Dr Simon Opher stood over a patient who is sat down, doing a blood pressure test
Dr Simon Opher says he is going to cut down his hours as a GP [BBC]

Speaking to the BBC after Thursday's election Dr Opher said he was looking forward to the big change and he was feeling the "sense of responsibility" as the people of Stroud have put their faith in him.

Dr Opher, who is an MBE, runs the May Lane Surgery and among other achievements set up Artlift in 2007 which is credited to reducing the number of GP visits by prescribing art to those with chronic pain.

"I'm cutting down massively the work I do as a GP and I shall do a session a week or so and that will be on a Friday," he said.

He added that the skills of a GP are not too dissimilar to that of an MP as the main trait is being able to listen to people.

"It's more about listening than it is about talking," he said.

'Genuine changes'

"And I'm pleased to be doing that because actually it's a great way to carry on your engagement with the community and I've got patients here who just wouldn't let me get to parliament because they want me to be their doctor."

He added he would take his skills and knowledge up to London to "make genuine changes in the NHS".

"As a working GP within the NHS that gives me a lot of ideas and certainly one of the reasons I got involved is because of the state of the NHS.

"We need to make some quite urgent changes," he said.

He said he was looking forward to "getting to grips with problems" on the first day of being an MP.

"I've also got a passion around the climate and environment and the use of public transport.

"There is a lot of concern about the loss of bus services and I'm looking forward to getting into and getting my hands dirty to try and sort it out so they're not lost.

"There is a few other things going on, Stroud Maternity Hospital is partially closed for post-natal care and I really want to sort that problem out.

"What I'm trying to achieve is to be the representative of Stroud people up in London rather than a representative of the Labour party in Stroud."

He added that dental care, sustainable energy and affordable housing for young people are also his priorities.

"There is a long list of things we need to sort out," he said.

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