Cornish village cheer after successful online hunt for GP

Residents of Mevagissey decided to appeal to doctors across the country, asking #willyoubemygp in a campaign across social media

A Cornish village which launched an online campaign to find a new doctor for the local practice is celebrating after a deal was struck by NHS England which has allowed the town’s GP to stay on.

The 5,300 patients of the Mevagissey practice run by Dr Katherine James looked like they would have to travel for miles on infrequent and expensive bus services to their nearest GP.

But the residents of the town decided to appeal to doctors across the country, asking #willyoubemygp in a campaign across social media which soon went viral and was picked up by the national and international press, as well as being raised in parliament by the local MP.

They posted pictures of the beautiful town and countryside around it on Twitter, and made a video which showed off the local area and its people to best effect.

And yesterday, the campaign tweeted that: “So. We did it. Amazing. Thank you to everyone who supported, helped, spread the word, wrote the articles, cheered us on, and occasionally fed me coffee. You're a wonderful bunch. I'd like to thank my agent, the rest of the cast, oh no sorry... wrong speech x”

NHS England has agreed that a practice in Camborne, which is 30 miles away from Mevagissey, will “take on the practice and employ more staff to support Dr James.” Three GPs who contacted the campaign could end up being employed there.

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s interim medical director, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the Mevagissey practice stays open for its 5,300 patients and it is vital that we retain and support experienced family doctors like Dr James.

“It is good to see surgeries collaborating in this way, which is exactly how we envisage practices large and small working to support each other.”

Dr James told GP online: “I am really pleased I can continue caring for the patients of Mevagissey surgery. I have been overwhelmed by the support that everyone has offered and the hard work to achieve this positive outcome for the community.”

Elizabeth Meldon Smith, chair of the #willyoubemyGP campaign, said: “This is fantastic news for the community, and for all patients of Mevagissey Surgery. We are looking forward to welcoming our new partners to the practice. Thank you to everyone for their unwavering dedication to raising the profile of our wonderful village surgery.”