A DEDICATED doctor, who for the last 34 years has been giving his home telephone number to terminally ill patients for use at evenings and weekends, was among those honoured at this year’s Primary Care Awards.

The prize for ‘Excellence in healthcare’ was a surprise retirement present for Dr Peter Banyard who will be leaving Springfields Medical Centre on Legh Street at the end of September.

The 58-year-old said: “I was absolutely thrilled to receive the award and very grateful.

“It’s a team award as it’s all down to the support and help of staff at the practice.

“Giving my mobile number is something I have always done and I’m sure other GPs offer to do the same.

“It might seem like an old-fashioned approach to younger people but patients in that position are often very anxious and might have a complicated history to run through with an out-of-hours doctor.

“Sometimes it’s just easier to run it past someone who knows them personally and their history and people told me many times it took the worry out of a situation and it was appreciated.”

Dr Banyard admitted it is more difficult for new doctors to do the same as often they can live outside of the area where their practice is and added he felt mixed about retiring.

The Stockton Heath granddad said: “It’s a hard job but I’ve had a wonderful career and made many good friends.

“After 34 years in the health service it seemed like a good time to pull the plug but I’ve really enjoyed my time.”

AWARDS on the night for doctors, nurses and staff members working in general practice, organised by Warrington CCG, were also handed to:

Nurse Clinician Alison Lowe, from Guardian Medical Centre, who won the ‘Long term service award’.

She was described as someone who embraced change and went above and beyond for her patients.

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IT Manager Emma Smith, from The Medical Centre, Folly Lane, who won the ‘Innovation in practice award after being described as someone ‘full of drive and enthusiasm’ to make her practice safer and more effective for patients.

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Dr Joanne McCormack, from Padgate Medical Centre, won the ‘Contributions to clinical commissioning award’ after working in commissioning roles for several years.

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Drs Jaish Puri and Gareth Davies, from The Medical Centre, Folly Lane, jointly won the ‘Most promising newcomer’ award for their knowledge of IT and business and their clinical knowledge and great relationships with patients.

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Practice manager Maggie Bowen, from Fearnhead Cross Medical Centre, picked up the ‘Contributions to health care in Warrington above and beyond the call of duty award’.

She was described as a dependable, well liked person who has embraced innovation, working after hours to ensure tasks are done.

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And finally chief nurse John Wharton, from Warrington CCG’s staff, won the ‘Outstanding contribution to all areas of healthcare’ award.

He has worked across the health system for many years and was known to do shopping for house-bound patients when he was a district nurse.

He now works on maintaining high standards of care and was described as someone who has always put the patient at the heart of everything he does.

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Dr Andy Davies, chairman of Warrington CCG, added: “I was very proud of the commitment to the patients and the people of Warrington.

“There were so many examples of people going above and beyond what was expected.

“All these awards were given for exceptional achievements and effort but the exceptional is the norm in the world that we work in.”