Ebola volunteer among GPs recognised in New Year honours

A GP who was among the first wave of NHS volunteers to work at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone in late 2014 has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year honours list.

Dr Charles Heatley with Agnes, a community health officer at the Kerrytown Ebola Treatment Centre
Dr Charles Heatley with Agnes, a community health officer at the Kerrytown Ebola Treatment Centre

Sheffield GP Dr Charles Heatley won the award for services to primary care after working for five weeks over Christmas 2014 at a treatment centre run by the charity Save the Children.

Speaking to GPonline before working at the centre, Dr Heatley hailed the 'top-class training' volunteers received before heading to Sierra Leone.

Among other doctors recognised in the honours list, former RCGP vice chair Professor Amanda Howe was awarded an OBE, also for services to primary care.

Services to primary care

Dr Heatley's award also recognises his contribution to health services in Sheffield. A GP and senior partner at Birley Health Centre, where he has worked for 23 years, Dr Heatley is also a clinical director at the NHS Sheffield CCG.

Dr Heatley said: 'I was surprised and delighted to receive an MBE. It’s all about working with teams, whether in my practice, with the CCG or with the team in Sierra Leonne. It was a privilege to take NHS values to another healthcare system and to be part of the frontline helping critically ill Ebola patients and their families.'

Professor Howe's RCGP role focused on professional development. At the 2015 RCGP conference in Glasgow, she led a break-out event to support the estimated 30-40% of GPs who are involved in medical education.

In November 2016, Professor Howe will become the first woman president of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA).

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