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Interview with Dr.Piper

We conducted an interview with Dr.Piper, asking her some reflective questions about the practice’s journey over the past 25 years. Keep reading for more, a link the full interview can be found at the end.

1. Why did you decide to open a private practice?

I opened the practice a long time ago, 25 years ago to be precise. At the time, my husband was moving around the country a lot with his job and I kept having to disappoint my NHS partners when I left my practices to move with him.

So I decided to start a small practice of my own, which could also give people a little more time if they wanted it. It was only meant to be “as and when” and something very small. But as time went by, the regulatory climate changed and demand grew. Eventually, I decided to take on my private practice full-time. Thus, I had to professionalise my systems.

2. Why do you think PrivateGP is successful?

There are a couple of key aspect that makes us successful, these are:

  • we care deeply about supporting people and getting them better
  • we pride ourselves on top class service
  • continuity of care with the doctor
  • very beautiful and healing premises
  • we contribute to the wider medical community through education
  • we help our community through charity
  • working as a team with our patients

3. What are the 3 key things you have learnt about running a healthcare business over the past 25 years?

It is difficult to say what the three key things are that I have learnt over the past 25 years. As we grow and move and change, different things seem important. So I chose three aspects which I think have endured the whole 25 years.

Over the years, I have felt that it is very important to provide balanced healthcare of a truly multidisciplinary nature. Being able to integrate allopathic medicine with many other types of healing. A few examples of these might be:

  • Nutrition
  • Biological systems medicine like acupuncture;
  • Herbal medicine;
  • Medical Cannabis;
  • Ancient healing arts like yoga

The second most important aspect is the people you choose to work with. Always go for the best. The best is sometimes difficult to quantify, because it is not always down to qualifications. I look for things like life experience, integrity, determination, thoroughness, passion, core values, communication skills, openness, work ethic, trustworthiness and so many factors that there are too many to list. This applies to the practice staff and our vast virtual external network.

The third most important thing, is keeping an open mind in the healthcare world and keeping up-to-date with new innovations etc. I spend hundreds of hours every year studying and listening, attending conferences, and more recently presenting talks myself to colleagues or to students.

4. What advance(s) in medicine have you enjoyed the most?

Molecular biology and biochemistry comes to mind. This has helped me to understand some of the core processes of our body systems. Unpacking these has aided me to learn new methods of helping people to get better from complex illness.

I am also fascinated by the constant improvement in radiological imaging of the body which can inform us in so much detail about what is happening.

I marvel at the minimally invasive surgery that reduces downtime recovery and sets people back up on their feet so much quicker than in the past.

5. How have you changed/grown in the past 25 years?

I feel I am more deeply peaceful than I used to be. I think this is because I have been doing yoga for the past few years and have availed myself of much support from my multidisciplinary team and my own knowledge.

I enjoy my work enormously and I am humbled by certain aspects of healing that take place with people who are chronically ill. So I feel privileged and humbled at the same time. These types of feelings only develop over the years as one progresses and becomes more useful as a doctor.

I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. I feel that I was lucky enough to find the path that suited me in life. My medicine has never been too much like a job. It has always been a vocation and I feel very peaceful about it all – much more now than I did.

Over the years, I have become more confident in myself and more unified inside myself as a person. I have always striven to get a balance with looking after myself with exercise  etc. Whatever I ask my patients to do, I do myself. I think that over the years I have improved enormously with this as my own knowledge of lifestyle medicine has improved. With this knowledge, I have become braver at pushing boundaries. Not for the sake of pushing boundaries and creating challenges. But because I care and believe passionately in what I do and in the results of certain types of methodology in medicine.

I used to think that I was a mainstream doctor. But I’m not. When I look at myself now I realise that I can be in the centre of allopathic medicine in one moment and the next be climbing onto the body membrane, trying to understand connectivity and advising about changes required for fatty acid balance. So my medicine these days is much more detailed, and my understanding of the human frame and condition has moved on to many other levels.

My multiple interests compelled me towards them and include my love of creativity, art, travel, friends, family, interior design, fashion, reading, films, sport, playing my tennis, keeping fit, nutrition and so on. And most of all I love having time to myself, with peace around me so that my insides can process everything that’s going on. The main change with all of this is keeping a balance and having time to do it all, a skill that comes from something much bigger – which is an active spiritual life.

6.Have you seen families grow up in your practice? If yes, how does that make you feel?

Yes families grow and this is very humbling. As a doctor, you see people through their lives and their sufferings, their successes, their joys…This grows you enormously and very quickly as a human being because you move through peoples’ challenges with them. As I said previously, this is a very privileged situation to be in in life.

7. What new things can patients expect at PrivateGP in the future?

I hope that we can see expansion of our services to include more mainstream activities such as specialist clinics. In terms of non-mainstream, we are looking at an ancient healing arts group that we can support in the local community. I would like to see us become much more active with medical cannabis. We are already able to advise on high-dose CBD for example to treat anxiety, pain or for sleep. But we need to bring in consultants to prescribe the THC-based medical cannabis. I personally would like to see a training room, with personal training being available. I would like to see more information on nutrition and cooking healthily, and maybe a small coffee shop attached eventually. We may also bring in membership schemes. There will be vodcasts and interesting interviews with our extended network. Beginning with the cannabis industry and our voluntary work as Medical Choices UK Ltd, giving regular monthly research updates from our wonderful cannabis researcher at Nottingham University, Professor Saoirse O’Sullivan. At the moment we are looking at lovely options for the future. But the future of the practice will continue long after I am gone and will involve many more aspects.

Read the full interview –


Here it is not one sizefits all

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