It was probably not in his wildest dreams as he burned the midnight oil and guzzled caffeine to stay awake studying for his medical degree; that Dr Mustafa Jiwanji would have thought that all this hard work was going to land him a star turn in a national TV series. Yet here he is, one of the many practitioners of Farnham Road Surgery in Slough, England, which has become the focus of Channel 5’s fly-on-the-wall documentary series; ‘GPs Behind Closed Doors’.
The series is currently on air weekly in the UK on Channel 5 every Wednesday at 8pm UK time with catch up options and repeats on several of their channels. It follows the doctors, nurses and patients of the practice as well as glimpses of the work and light-hearted banter of the staff administering the practise.
In his own words Dr Jiwanji says, “I currently work as a full time General Practitioner in the UK. Unlike many eastern countries, general practice is considered a specialty in its own right in the UK and the USA (where it is known as family medicine) with its own post graduate training programs. General practice is the foundation of the National Health System in the UK. The work is diverse and challenging on a regular basis. I have interests in minor surgery and substance misuse (mainly providing prescription services in heroin addiction) as part of my generalist profile.
We were intrigued as a practice by the idea of doing ‘GPs Behind Closed Doors’ primarily as it is a form of positive media for General Practice. Whilst providing an element of entertainment, it aims to realistically show the diversity and challenges we face in general practice in the UK. It allows for raising of health awareness issues, elevates the profile of our practice and promotes medicine in this country positively.”
Speaking about himself for the channel’s web page on the series Dr Jiwanji starts by saying, “My only claim to fame is playing in the Sir Gary Sobers Cricket Tournament in Barbados way back in the 90s! I’d love to say we won but, well, it’s the taking part that counts!”
Well – now he most certainly has another claim to fame!
When did you start working at Farnham Road Surgery?
Where did you do your medical training?
Imperial College School of Medicine
Why did you become a GP?
In Primary Care, we see it all! The worried well, minor illness, acutely ill patients, those with life changing chronic medical conditions, mental health illness, the dying, the recovering, young and old. More importantly, we see the impact people’s problems have on them in their real world settings. It is a privilege to be part of trying to resolve those problems.
What specialisms do you have?
Triaging Urology Referrals
Dr Mustafa Jiwanji
Have you worked for the NHS anywhere other than Farnham Road? If so, where?
During my training years, I have worked in London, Oxford, Windsor and Slough.
Did you have another career before working in the NHS?
Odd jobs in the summer from packing boxes to phoning people up for Gallup polls!
What do you like most about the surgery?
Farnham Road Practice serves a population with significant health needs which makes the work satisfying. The size of the surgery allows us to be responsive to changes and new ways of doing things to better patient care in a stretched NHS.
Then there is the large team! We have a strong partnership and great staff. Every one of our staff has a role that impacts on patient care. Many of them are unsung heroes for our population, often working hard in demanding roles for the benefit of our patients.