GP interview: Dr Steve Lloyd - the GP explorer

Derbyshire GP Dr Steve Lloyd is an expedition leader for the British Exploring Society and has served as an RAF reserve officer.

How did you first become involved in the work of the British Exploring Society?

I have been involved in the activities of the British Exploring Society for more than 10 years.

This is a UK charity, based at the Royal Geographical Society, which aims to raise the aspirations and outlook of young people aged 16 to 25 through the medium of scientific expeditions.

It was founded in 1932 by a doctor, Surgeon Commander George Murray Levick, a survivor of the ill-fated Scott expedition, and has remained true to its founding ethos. Every year, a number of expeditions are sent out, with students from a range of backgrounds, some extremely deprived and challenging.

I became involved in setting up the charity's original Amazon expedition when a friend called to ask me for assistance in running the medical side of things.

I eventually became so immersed in this work, I became deputy chief leader of the enterprise.

I found the challenges and rewards of taking young people to such a special environment, and seeing their rapid development in self-awareness and confidence, an inspiring experience.

What does your medical adviser role involve?

After organising and assessing risk and logistics for a number of expeditions, I was invited to be medical adviser and a trustee of the organisation, which has been a privilege.

I screen applicants and leaders for medical problems and identify how, as an inclusive organisation, to enable these people, as far as possible, to undertake such ventures.

I also advise on potential medical and travel problems and oversee the medical evacuation procedures and chain. I act as a reference point to expeditions in the field, as well as being a trustee involved in the overall governance of the charity.

I periodically check on expeditions running in the field, as quality assurance assessor. I was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Royal Asiatic Society on the basis of this work.

Where have you travelled as a chief expeditions leader?

I have set up and run a number of expeditions as chief leader, as well as assessing risk and logistics for others, ranging from the Pamir Mountains in central Asia, the Himalayas, the Amazon and Arctic Norway, to the Sinai and the Namib deserts. These have been life-changing experiences.

This year, I am running a bespoke expedition for young people from deprived backgrounds, to take part in a community project with a school on the edge of the Namib desert in Namibia.

I am also in the initial stages of setting up a stupendous Amazon expedition next year, in conjunction with the Crees Foundation, an organisation working to protect the biodiversiy of the rainforest.

We plan to undertake an ecological survey of the Pini Pini area of Manu in Peru, where there are many unrecorded species in the little-explored primary rainforest ridges of the Andean foothills.

Which have been your most memorable expeditions?

Two stand out - Amazon 2007 and Namibia 2012, both taking place in stunning scenery and offering vast arrays of flora and fauna.

It was very rewarding to help young people experience this and foster a love of the wilderness, coming to understand how precious it is to humankind.

The expeditions were tough, but we took 60 people to the Amazon and 100 to the Namib desert, and I know these expeditions touched the emotions of all who undertook them, as well as allowing us to do valuable scientific and conservation work.

How long did you serve as a senior RAF reserve officer?

I was a reserve RAF squadron leader for five years, with 4626 Squadron, a medical evacuation unit bringing casualties back from theatres of conflict to centres of care.

The RAF taught me about teamwork and working with dedicated professionals from all walks of life, and my time at RAF College Cranwell will stay with me forever.

How do you fit this in with work as a GP and CCG chairman?

I have a loving wife and family who understand what makes me tick (my children seem to be following in my footsteps) and an understanding practice team.

I believe my background in leadership, in the wild and with the RAF, has benefited our CCG and given me a unique perspective on management and teamwork, and the importance of getting this right. This year, I've found the time for short overseas assignments to the Arctic, the Amazon and the Namib desert.

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