“What about being a doctor?” The question that changed a 13 year old’s life

So, after more than half a decade of studying medicine, the learning stops after you graduate, right? Wrong. University of Manchester Medicine graduate, Emma Pilmott, hasn’t stopped adding strings to her bow since becoming a fully qualified doctor and should be an inspiration to all budding medics. Here, she talks us through her journey since graduating, and why she set her heart on becoming  a GP. 

Emma Pilmott

I always knew that I wanted to help people. I remember telling my history teacher in year nine that I wanted to be a nurse and he said to me, “what about being a doctor?” At age 13 I didn’t think that somebody like me could go to medical school. I went to a comprehensive school in Chorley and would be the first in my family to go to university.  I have been very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family who encouraged me to pursue a career in medicine. I always wanted to study in Manchester and was very excited when I got the acceptance offer! I enjoyed my pre-clinical years as a student in the Stopford building and then my undergraduate clinical placements at Wythenshawe Hospital.

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Image sourced from UHSM’s website

After graduation, I spent two years working as a foundation doctor in Preston and Chorley.  After exposure to several different specialties, I felt that General Practice would be an ideal career for me. I like continuity of care and the wide breadth of conditions that are seen in primary care so I decided to continue my training in Preston and Chorley.  During this time, I developed an interest in medical education and obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Medical Education.

On completion of GP training in 2012, I moved to London to embark on my career in General Practice. Whilst working as a GP, I gained The Faculty of Sexual Reproductive Health Diploma and an Advanced University Diploma in Mental Health Care in Primary Care.  Having thoroughly enjoyed two exciting years living and working in vibrant multicultural Hackney, I moved back to the North to settle closer to family.

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When I moved back, I set up a local ‘First5’ group. This is an RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) initiative to support GPs in their First 5 years of qualification.  I am now the First5 co-lead for the North West and have been able to contribute towards the co-ordination of a successful education programme and peer support network. Peer support is important and I value the opportunity to be in regular contact with GPs at a similar place in their career.

As a GP I particularly enjoy advising patients about lifestyle.  Making small changes can have a big impact of a patient’s quality of life.  It was through this interest that I started work as a GP Clinical Champion for Physical Activity with Public Health England in 2015.  The aim of this role is to promote importance of physical activity.  I am extremely enthusiastic about this work and am pleased to be travelling around the North West spreading the active lifestyle message.  I am a Foundation Member of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine that aims to prevent, improve, manage and treat lifestyle-related conditions.

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I now work in a Central Manchester GP practice as a Salaried GP.  I like engaging with patients from a variety of different backgrounds and considering the different challenges that this presents.  I have continued with my interest in medical education and have been teaching medical students in Manchester and Preston since 2015.  In September 2017 I became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a British Professional Institution promoting excellence in Higher Education.  This year, I successfully applied for a job as a Clinical Lecturer with the Community Based Medical Education Team at the University of Manchester.  It’s fantastic to be back in the Stopford Building after 10 years!


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