Featured Doctor


Chair WONCA WP on Rural Practice (UK)

Dr John Wynn-Jones has been a rural GP in Wales for over 30 years. He has now retired from his full time practice but still continues to work part time. He trained at Guy’s Hospital London 1969-75 but after finishing his GP training returned to his native Wales to work in a rural practice in Montgomery on the Welsh borders.

He soon became aware that the rural GPs lacked any significant support or on-going continuing education. He and a few colleagues formed a local medical society, which provided educational and support for general practitioners and their staff. He went on to found the UK Institute of Rural Health and the Welsh Rural Postgraduate Unit. In 1997 he was instrumental in creating the European Rural and Isolated Practitioner’s Association (EURIPA) and remained its president until 2012. Under his presidency the network grew in stature and influence and represents rural practitioners across the continent.

John was one of the founding members of the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice and took over as chair in Prague this year from Professor Ian Couper. His personal areas of focus for the forthcoming triennium include:
• Renewal of the membership of the Working Party, aiming to ensure that there is gender equity and that younger doctors are represented
• Ensuring relevance to working rural practitioners, through systematically reviewing previous policies and statements of the working party, adopted at conferences over the years, so that they remain relevant and are communicated effectively with rural family doctors.
• Linking more with the broader WONCA family, aiming to work together and combine skills, resources and energies to address the mounting challenges that rural practitioners face over the coming decades.
• Publish the electronic Guidebook on Rural Medical Education, which has been under development for a number of years.
He has held many posts and roles over the years including the position of Medical Advisor to the BBC’s Archers, the longest running radio soap in the world. He has spoken at conferences around the world and published on rural issues. He is currently the Senior Lecturer in Rural and Global Health at Keele University.

He worked with his colleagues at the Institute of Rural Health to develop UK’s Rural Proofing Tool in 2007 ( 2nd version was released earlier this year). The rural Proofing process is key to ensuring that rural policy meets the needs of rural populations and used properly can have an impact in promoting equity for rural inhabitants

His passion for rural practice remains unabated and says that despite the success we have much more to do to reduce rural inequalities and improve health outcomes.

John describes himself as “A catcher of dreams” who believes that we all have the capacity to change the world." As Paulo Cohelo says in “he Alchemist” we must listen to the language of the world, look where we started from and take the opportunities when they arise.

News October 2013