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I joined Geoff Fairhurst in 1984 after completing my GP registrar job in Blandford, Dorset. I had trained at Southampton Medical School and worked in hospitals on the south coast culminating in my GP registrar job. The move to Merseyside was a wrench, leaving the fabulous Dorset countryside to return to the North West, where I was born and brought up. The lure was an interesting GP partnership with early parity and excellent working conditions. Dr Fairhurst was a well-known GP who had a major interest in hypertension; he lectured for a number of pharmaceutical companies and was involved in medical research.

I moved to St Helens in December 1984 with my wife, Helen. The practice was recovering from a partnership dissolution and I started work enthusiastically to rebuild it. A great bonus was the excellent out-of-hours cooperative that allowed us to pursue our interest in cycle racing; at this time Helen was a Great Britain International Rider and had just ridden the 1984 Tour de France Feminin. The major surprise was the low practice profit given the good list size. In retrospect, I feel that was because

Dr Fairhurst was making a substantial part of his income from pharmaceutical trials, so income from the practice was less important to him. I was not interested in medical research at this time and became involved in the NHS work and practice administration. As we had no practice manager, I gave myself a crash course in accounting, practice administration, and wages. Dr Fairhurst was involved in local medical politics, serving on the local medical committee and local ethics committee and lecturing frequently on hypertension and his own research.This would entail frequent short trips abroad, some of them covered by locums, some not, which was the only source of irritation for me at the time.

Over the first few years of partnership it was apparent that all trial work was carried out during surgery time. This would mean that an average surgery for Dr Fairhurst might contain as many as four trial patients. Knowing little about the difficulties of pharmaceutical trials, I assumed that this practice was normal. Later, when I became acquainted with the nature of this type of work, I marvelled at his ability to manage drug accountability, arrange investigations, and discuss consent in the limited time available in a regular surgery.

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Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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