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      Barra & Vatersay News

The GPs will help with work at Barra Medical Practice.

NHS Western Isles (NHSWI) is welcoming three new GPs to Barra.  

Dr Eleanor (Ele) Barkell, Dr Christine Bassindale, and Dr Anthony (Tony) Mode will be providing patient services at St Brendan’s Hospital and Barra Medical Practice. Dr Barkell will cover services full-time, while Dr Bassindale and Dr Mode will jointly cover the second GP post.  

Dr Barkell and Dr Bassindale will both start practising from Monday November 27, with Dr Mode due to join the pair in the spring.

After qualifying as a GP in 2003, Dr Barkell worked as a GP partner, trainer and Appraiser for the NHS in Staffordshire until 2022. She has a BCs (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Glasgow and an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) from the University of London, and moves to the Western Isles after working as a GP for the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking of her new position, Dr Barkell said: “I’m very keen to get started. The team on the ground have done an amazing job. I have had a fantastic welcome at every stage of our induction and love the outdoors, so I’m very much looking forward to living and working on Barra.” 

Dr Bassindale became interested in working as a GP on Barra during one of her several ‘Barrathon’ running visits. She has been a GP principal as well as a GP in out of hours services, and practised as a GP with a special interest in addiction medicine (community/custodial) and as a forensic physician (custody suite, sexual assault resource centres in UK and Australia, expert witness). She has also been the clinical lead for several forensic medical services and addiction medicine services. 

Dr Bassindale said: “My motivation and goal is to work with patients, colleagues, partner organisations and services to improve the holistic health, wellbeing and safety of the entire community. I enjoy face to face patient contact and training and mentoring colleagues.” 

“Some years ago I called in to the Castlebay Medical Practice and talked about locum work with the manager,” she explained. “I didn’t pursue the possibility then for various personal and professional reasons. When in June 2023 I saw there was a need for GPs on Barra, I applied for a post and was delighted to be short-listed, interviewed and appointed. I am looking forward to starting work with my soon to be colleagues.” 

Dr Mode currently serves the military community at RAF Boulmer. He qualified as a doctor from the University of Glasgow Medical School and completed the foundation programme at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Dr Mode worked in hospitals in Glasgow before completing his GP training in Northumberland. 

Interested in sustainability and conservation, Dr Mode said he is looking forward to the Western Isles' fly-fishing opportunities, as well as painting their landscapes.  

“I enjoy all elements of being a GP. Most important for me is just being there to help,” he said.

“My main focus is ensuring the best outcomes for patients and their families, focusing on their comfort and dignity.  I think I am appropriately excited and nervous at the opportunity and responsibility being one of the new GPs on Barra brings.” 

NHS Western Isles Medical Director, Dr Frank McAuley, welcomed the trio.

“We are delighted that, through our successful recruitment campaign, we were able to attract such experienced, dedicated and motivated GPs to provide this vital service to the population of Barra and Vatersay," Dr McAuley said.

"Our three new GPs will cover the hospital and GP Practice, providing a seamless and holistic service to the population and helping to improve and enhance the existing systems in place, with the patient at the heart. I am delighted to welcome Drs Barkell, Bassindale, and Mode to NHS Western Isles and specifically to Barra, where I’m sure the community will echo our warm welcome.”