Meet…Dr Andrew Cummings!
Andrew, tell us about life as a GP in one of the most deprived areas in North Somerset:
Challenging, but extraordinarily fulfilling. I feel I’m finally getting to do what I hoped GP was all about.
How long have you been in medicine and at what point did you decide to train as a GP? What was your trigger moment?
I started training as a medical student in Belfast then hopped over to Bristol, graduating in 2011. Initially, I pursued a career interest in Neurology and spent copious hours pipetting colourless liquid in a lab and assisting with MS trials alongside my clinical work. It was fascinating, but somehow, it didn’t quite click. After two years of indecision, at the crux point, I remembered a play I’d seen called Children of the Sun. A scientist pursues the prestige of discovering some indistinct “cure” but ignores the growing needs of the vulnerable community around them. I chose GP to be more present in the day-to-day comings and goings of people and have never looked back. Odd to attribute your career choice to the theatre, but that’s the truth!
What is your morning boost? Mine is coffee….yours? And why?
Having a delicious percolated coffee with my partner, served in our tiny ceramic cups. I love the ritual of it.
Your commute into work…what is your reading or listening list on way in?
I take a train from Bristol which is a breeze. On the way in – I’ll happily confess to going through a Sci-Fi phase at present – the Dune Saga is like the best bits of Middlemarch set in the far future. It puts the working day into a healthy perspective.
What has been your toughest challenge since the pandemic personally?
Trying my best to support my family through triumph, tragedy and heartbreak via Zoom calls.
If you could change 1 thing about Pier Health, what would it be?
If finance were no hindrance, using our increasing size, social influence and position of leadership within Weston to take a wider lens to improve the overall wellbeing of the populace. In other words, bringing the craft of public health more into primary care. This might look like: charming the local authority to invest in more parks/ lidos/cycle paths; taking more of a directional role within the voluntary sector network of 200 charities, and perhaps even investing time into honing the art of winning more government/ third sector grants for social projects within Weston.
What’s your hope and desire for PHGL?
I hope that PHGL can become an emblem for successful collaboration within Pier Health and an inspiring story of a fruitful struggle. Being part of a team, building this together little by little can be thrilling and I desire for a day when our vulnerable community has easy access to a great standard of holistic care and to have helped foster an environment where all of our relentlessly hard-working staff have a rooted sense of dignity and pride to work for the organisation.