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Dr Clare Gerada

Centenary Souvenir


General Practitioner and Medical Director, London Dr Clare Gerada, also known as Lady Wessely is a London-based General Practitioner (GP) and Founder of a substance misuse unit. Her passion for wanting to be a doctor was ignited by her GP father who started off his practice in the front room of their home. At the time, Peterborough had the largest Italian community outside Italy, and as her father spoke fluent Italian, he was the GP for all of them. Clare’s love for medicine comes from him as she recalls him going out in the middle of the night in his pyjamas, often taking Clare with him.

Born in Nigeria, Clare grew up in Peterborough and qualified from University College Hospital, London in 1983. She started her medical training at Whittington Hospital and then trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley and Bethlam Hospitals, where she obtained her MRCPsych. At this point, she decided to change career direction and followed in her father’s footsteps to train in general practice and has since combined a successful career in both psychiatry and general practice. In 1991 Clare became a GP and partner in the Hurley Clinic on a council estate in south London, where she has worked ever since. The practice is now one of the largest GP group practices in London. She developed an interest and expertise in the addiction field after her training in psychiatry led her to a life-long interest in managing drug users She describes this as her best career move. Clare initially led a shared care substance misuse service, a Consultancy Liaison Addiction Service, supporting GPs caring for drug users. Clare has published widely: over one hundred peer and nonpeer reviewed papers, articles, books and chapters, despite never holding a formal academic position. She has held numerous local and national leadership positions with strong links to three medical Royal Colleges and is an active member of the Bevan Commission, which was originally established in 2008

to advise the Minister on promoting health and health services improvement in Wales. Clare was Director of Primary Care for the National Clinical Governance team and Senior Medical Advisor to the Department of Health (DOH), representing them when she advised the Maltese Government on their drug policy. She admits that taking a file home to work on during her time at the DOH and then not being able to find it, was one of her greatest mistakes. Clare believed that it had fallen off her bicycle, and spent hours travelling the route, back and forth, looking for it. It was under her bed. In 2008, Clare was awarded the contract to deliver the pioneering NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP) service which provides confidential medical advice for doctors and dentists with mental health or addiction problems. This is her proudest achievement. Clare is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and she was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 2008. Her marriage with the RCGP is a long one; Clare was ViceChair of the College Council, past Chair of the College Ethics Committee and in 2010, was elected Chair of Council – the first female Chair to hold that position in fifty years. In 2000, Clare was awarded an MBE for services to medicine for her substance misuse work. She has been vocal on many high profile media outlets and has featured on the BBC Radio 4 series Great Lives, nominating Vera Brittain, in a BBC2 Horizon documentary, BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’ and the Politics Show. In 2013, Clare was listed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, and was twice voted by readers of the Evening Standard as one of the top 1,000 influential Londoners. In 2014, she was listed by Debrett’s and the Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential people in Britain, and number 4 in the field of health. Clare is married to Sir Simon Wessely, a prominent psychiatrist, whom she describes as her inspiration for “always being right and great fun to be with. He is my rock,” she says. * Favourite Film: The Third Man * Three objects Clare cannot live without: Mobile phone, Lucy (my dog), Brompton bike

Clare’s advice to junior doctors is “Stick with it and become a GP! It gives you endless variety.”


Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...

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