Published in Nabs

Next Gen Nabs: Raj Patel

Raj PatelDr Raj Patel
@Dr_Raj_Patel

What role(s) do you hold at the moment?

Deputy Medical Director of Primary Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement, GP partner in The Brooke Surgery, Hyde, Greater Manchester. Member of General Medical Council (GMC), Member of BBC Children in Need Committee for the North.


What brings you the most joy at work?

Being retirement age - allows me to say what I think and make “career limiting” comments without worrying.

What is your biggest challenge?

Reaching items on the top shelf of supermarkets and keeping everyone happy.

What's the best leadership/career advice that you've ever recieved?

Listen to understand, to really understand, to really really understand the views of people who disagree with you and don’t stop listening until your opponent agrees that you understand their perspective. We usually listen to prepare a reply and not necessarily to understand. Easy to say, hard to do

Who do you look up to? 

an McCrae, the much older chair of my primary care trust when I was early in my leadership journey who gave me the advice above, but it is a clear message in Covey’s seven habits. Now I am close to retirement, I find myself with a role model 20 years younger than me: Nikki Kanani who I initially cautioned for “flying too low” in a senior strategic role. I now admire her style of helicopter leadership where she is able to fly high and then land amongst frontline clinicians, make a personal judgment and then head back to the stratosphere to understand how it all fits strategically.....and she can genuinely multitask.

What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?

Getting into medical school after re-sitting my A-levels. A long time ago, but very few kids from my rough school went to university let alone medical school especially from a BAME background. Collecting my MBE from Her Majesty at Buck House in 2019 wasn’t too bad either.

What have you learned about yourself in lockdown?

I am crap at multitasking. I can’t do zoom / MS team meetings, check my email, WhatsApp, social media, watch Netflix, cook dinner and do my online shopping all at the same time. Despite being a champion for online consulting, I have discovered that I really miss seeing my patients face to face

What are you reading at the moment?......and (no judgement) the last film you watched..

“Getting Things Done” by David Allen, a book on time management I started to read in 2001. I still haven’t finished it. Film: Deadpool and Deadpool 2 featuring a quick witted, foul mouthed, badly behaved anti-superhero whose heart is in the right place. Reminds me of a lot of doctors and nurses I have worked with.