Q&A with Dr Bashar Shatta, GP, Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Community Minor Operations Service at Ipswich and East Suffolk

Apr 25, 2022.

Are you a Healthcare Professional thinking of exploring work in Clinical Services or a Healthcare Organisation keen to know more about how our Clinical Services operation can help with patient waiting lists? Take a look at our latest blog, where you can read first-hand from one of our amazing Consultants, Dr Bashar Shatta, on what it’s like and our support as part of that service.

Hello! Thank you so much for joining us today Dr Bashar, could you tell us a little more about your grade specialty and skills?

My name is Dr Bashar; I am a GP with a special interest in minor surgery and skin problems. Previously, I was a hospital Surgeon and I did training in plastic surgery but then I moved to community – and my training as a GP. I have been a GP now since 2016.

With regards to my community work, I had all the skills required from my hospital background and my aim was, and is, to bring this all into the community. So far, this has been a great pleasure to do so, and a success!

Where do you currently work?

I currently work in a few different places! I do sessions at a couple of different GP surgeries in Suffolk, I also work at Queen Mary University of London as a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Anaesthetic Medicine alongside occasional work for the GP out of hours service… And of course, the Minor Surgery unit based in Felixstowe for ID Medical.

What was your motivation for training as both a Surgeon and GP?

I started out wanting to be a Surgeon and I did around ten years training in surgery within NHS hospitals. I have always had a special interest in minor surgery though and, with family commitments, I began to think about my work/life balance more. Going from hospital to community gives me flexibility; I can do the work I love and have more time for my family. This was a strong factor in my decision to train as a GP, and the best part? I can do a lot of what I love, which is surgery in the community!

What particular benefits and insights do you think having worked in both roles brings?

As a GP dealing with minor surgeries, I am able to bring the training and experience I have from my role as a Surgeon. I can really see, and really appreciate that by running a community service, we are able to offer an easy access service (for issues that patients would otherwise need to go into hospital for) with much shorter waiting times.

GP surgeries are smaller, more intimate places than hospitals. There’s close contact with other community services and GPs, which also means there’s easier access to the services the patients need. Processes run far more smoothly than in hospital where red tape can hold things up too.

What do you enjoy most about being a Clinical Lead and Surgeon in Community Minor Operations Service?

I enjoy that it is stimulating, intellectually challenging and can make a real difference to people’s lives.

Do you think that our service is making a positive difference to a local population?

Absolutely! You can see that difference from the positive feedback that we’re constantly receiving since the start of this service in January. Patients are far happier coming to a community hub like ours over going to hospital. There’s many reasons why, including the ease of getting here; the free parking is a good start for most patients! They also feel more relaxed coming to a GP surgery rather than going to a big establishment like a hospital. Being closer to other community services is a bonus too…

How efficient this service is, is the biggest positive factor… We do 13 cases a day, which is a fantastic number, certainly when compared to hospital cases. Being able to do such a good amount of cases in a day is certainly having an impact on patient waiting lists. This is another reason why patients prefer to be seen and treated outside the hospital. Patients and GPs love the fact that our waiting lists are short and that surgery happens very quickly. The current waiting times for most patients is about 3 weeks, compared to several months in a hospital setting!

What’s your experience of working with ID Medical Clinical Services?

ID Medical itself is a great organisation. The management is excellent, it’s well established with experienced and supportive staff – and this has certainly extended to their Clinical Services offering.

The Clinical Director, Professor Fahed Youssef, has been a great help – supporting us with all aspects of this service. He’s such a fantastic asset for ID Medical!

I also worked closely with the rest of the background team (when we were going through the contracts when we first established the service) and overall, I’ve had a great experience working with various people on various levels – whether management or clinical… They’ve all been brilliant!

I also love that, with ID Medical, you get that feeling that it’s a safe service, and that’s because of how well organised it is. What we are delivering has been thoroughly thought out by ID Medical, with accurate processes and organisation. Crucially, they’re so supportive to all their staff. It’s definitely a very good experience!

Does working within a community clinic differ to other medical settings?

Yes definitely when compared to a hospital setting. As I’ve previously touched upon, a community clinic is more relaxing (and more efficient!) for both patients and clinicians due to the smaller, more intimate setting. Granted, you cannot really do very complicated cases or surgery where more medical attention/equipment is needed… That’s the biggest difference I’d say, but those needing extra attention for their surgery is really only a small percentage. 

For minor surgery, a community clinic is ideal and the majority of patients can be managed here, in the community setting – and it’s a lot better than going into hospital for minor surgery! If there is need for further medical support or if complications arise, hospital services can still be accessed. Thankfully, it is extremely rare to get any serious complications in a community clinic.

Do you have any advice for another Doctor looking to join our Clinical Services teams?

Certainly! I think, if they find the right role that suits their skills and career, ID Medial Clinical Services is perfect to join! I’d definitely recommend them without hesitation; it is safe, supportive and from my point of view, it’s been, and continues to be, a very enjoyable experience.

In short, I’d definitely recommend ID Medical Clinical Services to other Doctors!

How would you further improve community minor operations service?

The service is continually improving (as all good services do) from when we first started. The great thing here is, everyone is proactive, keen to learn from any issues raised – and that’s what we need to keep improving the service.

A service such as this isn’t static, you have to keep adding or removing things from within the service. For example, with equipment, we may try different things to choose what works best for patients and clinicians. So, we are continually refining the service and crucially, we take patient feedback, very seriously as this is the best way to keep improving. We know we are doing a good job though as feedback has been so positive. We haven’t had complaints or any issues, which shows we’re giving a great service already!

Another positive for me is that ID Medical really take on board their clinicians’ point of view and any suggestions too, which is always good and makes us feel heard and valued.

In all honesty though… as it is right now, it really is perfect!

If you weren’t a doctor what would you be and why?

I think either a Pharmacist or a Chemical or Civil Engineer. I’ve always loved maths and science so something to do with these I think!

If you could wave a magic wand and change something in the world, what would you change?

Stop the inequalities we see every day. War and conflicts too.

Do you have a favourite food or drink to get you through a clinic?

As long as I have some kind of drink, coffee or tea, I’m happy! Nothing too heavy to eat though!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Bashar for his time and insight into our Clinical Services led, Minor Operations Service at Ipswich and East Suffolk! If you’re a Healthcare Organisation interested in learning more about our Clinical Services offering, or a Healthcare Professional looking to know more about picking up extra shifts through our Clinical Services team, contact us: clinicalservices@id-medical.com and we’ll get right back to you.