Rhondda GP Dr Gwydion Wyn

Dr Gwydion Wyn on the challenges and rewards of being a GP in the Rhondda Valleys

When I first started working as a GP in the Rhondda, I was shocked by the number of late presenting, serious conditions that I would see.

People would walk into my surgery with advanced cancers, terrible chests, bad depression and severe heart disease.

These were challenging cases and, for a newly qualified GP, a challenge that I thrived upon. 

Diagnosing and treating these chronic conditions has proven rewarding from a professional point of view.

But it is seeing these patients a few years down the line with a vast improvement and better quality of life that makes it so worthwhile.

The work is varied, no day is the same. I have seen patients with up to three different forms of cancer at the same time, and seeing their bravery and helping them deal with these cancers is a real challenge.

Every time a patient thanks me, it makes my job worthwhile. 

An elderly man recently thanked me for saving his life.

I had seen him a couple of months earlier and found he had a condition requiring an urgent scan. The following week the surgeons operated on him, and now he is doing well and recovering.

He was told by the surgeon that had I not picked this up, it could have been fatal.

The South Wales Valleys is a great place for students to train as they see a lot of diseases, and pathology. Our patients are welcoming and grateful for care they receive

As a young doctor, there are plenty of work opportunities in the valleys and a real sense of achievement.

My area of interest is respiratory medicine and I have been part of the Cwm Taf chronic obstructive pulmonary disease project and having opportunity to do joint clinics with a chest physician in the surgery.

‘Common conceptions about the Valleys are just wrong’

Our hardest challenge is ongoing health promotion, and educating patients on how to deal with minor illness, self care, ‘antibiotics don’t work for a common cold’.  It is work in progress but we are starting to see the effects.

Many common conceptions and prejudices about this part of the world are just wrong. Driving around the valleys, which are an easy commute from Cardiff, and looking round at the natural landscape, you can quickly appreciate the beauty of the area.

I have been working at Pont Newydd Medical Centre, in Porth, for almost six years now. I feel proud to be part of a dedicated, hard working team that delivers high quality health care to our patients from a modern, purpose built surgery.

We work closely as a practice team as well as utilising members of the multidisciplinary team such as District Nurses, MacMillan nurses and health visitors.

We are also fortunate to have supporting colleagues in secondary care and in particular an excellent radiology department that enables us to investigate suspected cancer cases promptly.

As a practice we are heavily involved in the Rhondda cluster. We are excited that all GPs in the Rhondda get together to discuss and implement plans that will improve the health of our people here.

Being a GP is a difficult job.

But being able to look after and help people with multiple co-morbidities and seeing the difference our treatment can make, makes the effort and hard work satisfying.

The people of the Rhondda are warm characters with a strong sense of identity and community.

They deserve to be looked after well and this is what we aspire to do.

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