Dr Rianne Sewell

GP & Senior Partner, Quantock Vale Surgery

zoe penny

Dr Rianne Sewell

GP & Senior Partner, Quantock Vale Surgery

What’s the journey been like from Holland to Somerset?

So it started 35 years ago when I accidentally met my later husband at the airport in New York. He was English and we wrote and telephoned from the local phone box, because in those days we didn’t have mobiles, and eventually he moved to Amsterdam when I was a medical student. And then when I graduated we moved down to England, which was always the plan.

We went on holiday to Exmoor on several occasions, and there was an occasion when we took a slight wrong turn, and ended up in West Bagborough on top of a hill sitting on a little bench, and we said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to work somewhere here?’… and this is now my patch! So this is where I live and work, and I still feel like I’m on holiday, after 25 years, a lot of the time.

What’s your day to day like? What’s it like raising family in Somerset?

We have a small smallholding, my husband is a house-husband so has managed the family side of things while I’ve been able to be a full-time GP from the moment I started my career. Things have been a lot more busy and stressful in the latter ten years than they were in the first fifteen, so when my kids who are now 17 and 19 were little and were in the local school, which is about 10 minutes away, I was able to be a very full part of their life. I was often able to rearrange surgery slightly, to just nip in for their special days at school.

And I think, being in a small surgery like this, we still have that flexibility to be very much part of the life of the community and our families when they’re relatively close by.

Have you always wanted to be a GP?

I think I always wanted to be a doctor. It’s one of those things – looking back you’re never quite consciously aware of it, but it’s what has always steered me. And like many people, there was no ‘plan’ of being a GP. I went to a university in Holland, that at the time was ear-marked as being the first university that was specifically aimed at producing GPs. I worked in hospital for several years, and loved working in the hospital, but when you close the door behind you in the morning, and in the evening when you go home, between those times the world doesn’t exist, that’s your world and it’s very easy to get cut off from everything.

There came a point where you have to make a choice and say ‘actually what type of life do I want, what type of world do I want to live in?’, and there’s so much more to medicine. That was the time that I thought, when I go to England I think I want to be a GP.

And I haven’t regretted any minute of it. It’s a job where you get to make a real difference. It’s not always an easy job, it’s a neverending job – you’re never ‘off’, even if you’re off. We’re often working late, working from home and even if we’re not technically working we’re working with our minds. I’m quite involved in a lot of the new developments relating to social prescribing, new modes of working… so it never stops, but actually, when you then see the children that you first saw in your baby check now having their own babies (and suddenly think oh my god I’ve gotten old!), it’s just the breadth of life that you’re involved with that makes it a really special job.

Come and join us

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