HYDE doctor Raj Patel was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to healthcare.
While Dr Patel is also deputy national medical director for primary care at NHS England, he was acclaimed for pioneering changes in the wake of the Harold Shipman case.
Dr Patel, a partner at The Brooke Surgery, Market Street, and a matter of yards from Shipman’s former practice, helped introduce new systems locally which five years later were implemented nationally.
He worked with colleagues to change their practice in completing cremation forms so a second doctor can contact relatives if there are any concerns.
They were adopted initially across Manchester and in 2008 nationally.
Dr Patel, 58, also led the creation of a controlled drugs incident reporting tool for Greater Manchester which has also been adopted nationally. It recognised Shipman’s use of diamorphine in his killings.
Had these measures been in place, Shipman’s murders may have been discovered sooner.
Dr Patel explained: “We knew there were gaps in the system to allow Shipman to get away with what he did.
“We were waiting for some national guidance that wasn’t coming so we decided locally as doctors that we would make changes which were later adopted nationally.
“It is also about spotting doctors in difficulty and helping them earlier and providing them with support.”
Dr Patel described the Shipman case as a “huge shock”.
“It was more so being on our doorstep and provided even more reason for everybody to learn from it,” he explained.
Dr Patel has been a GP for 34 years, but been s partner in The Brooke Surgery for 25 years.
In the last six years he has been involved regional roles for Greater Manchester and Lancashire as well as being deputy national medical director for primary care at NHS England.
“I one spend one-and-a-half days in Hyde and the rest of the week on my national job. I think it is important, though, to keep in touch with the front line,” he explained.
Dr Patel says there is a lot more regulation in the NHS than when he started out.
He is also firmly behind plans to encourage GPs to pool their resources and work together in clusters of up to 50,000 people.
By doing that he believes better services can be provided and to get efficiency of scales.
Dr Patel said: “One practice may not be able to afford a piece of equipment but maybe it would be feasible for five practices to share it.
“A practice may also be having difficulty recruiting but it may be easier on a bigger scale.”
Dr Patel described being “shocked, astonished but delighted” by the award of the MBE.
He lives with his partner in Heaton Moor, Stockport, and described cycling and photography as his hobbies.