Lifetime Achievement Award 2020
– Dr Agnelo Fernandes
Message written by Dr Peter Boffa
It is with great pleasure that I proposed Dr Agnelo Fernandes for the Croydon Medical Society Lifetime Achievement Award. Agnelo has been a driving force throughout his career, not only developing his practice and premises but perhaps, more importantly, he has driven change in Croydon over many years, usually with most of his fellow GP’s kicking and screaming! Anyone reading Agnelo’s CV could not be anything other than impressed by the broad list of achievements, prizes and awards that he has received, including his MBE. I wanted to pick out a few examples of what he has achieved that perhaps may not know.
In the late 90’s the GP cooperative movement took hold to manage out of hours care. Agnelo worked night and day to set up the service and Croydoc, as it was known, was extremely successful and I remember my life being revolutionised by the removal of on-call work with the option of working, or not, for the service. I think all GPs here who worked through that period will remember how hard Agnelo worked, all the night shifts to keep it going plus all the emails coming out at 2, 3 and 4 am to keep it running. There was also the unexpected benefit of GP’s from different practices collaborating, talking and networking, really for the first time.
In 2007 Agnelo was determined to try to push through more clinical commissioning to develop patient pathways and convened a group of 5 like-minded practices (including mine in Old Coulsdon) and they set up a company called Pentahealth. This was a short-lived venture that did not have much success – although we had ultrasound commissioned from our surgeries which was a great innovation and fantastic for the patients. What Pentahealth did do though, was to incite fury from uninvolved practices who vented their ire by forming the GP organisation that, over time, morphed into the Federation. Again, perhaps another unintended consequence.
When Agnelo was asked to become the Croydon Professional Executive Committee chair around 2010 he was accused by some LMC colleagues of going over to the “Dark Side”! What they meant was collaborating with the Commissioners of the day. Well I have to say that Agnelo has always been on the Dark Side – however, he has never forgotten that he is first and foremost a GP and has always championed improved patient care. He has always been a passionate believer in clinical engagement and has recruited dozens of Croydon GPs to become clinical leaders. The morphing of Croydon CCG to the STP, sadly reverses that progress.
Agnelo, Croydon Medical Society salutes the hard work and dedication you have shown to patients and the profession both locally and nationally.
Congratulations on your Lifetime Achievement Award.