“We are happy to register you” Practice Manager, Anwar Hussain

Published 26th July 2019

“We thought, ‘Let’s go out to the community and ask people and get them to work together with us to achieve some of the things we want to do”


Anwar Hussain is the Practice Manager at St Paul’s Way Medical Centre, a growing GP practice in Tower Hamlets, east London, with a list size of over 13,000 patients. The GPs and nurses at St Paul’s are supported by on-site benefit advisors, midwives, psychologists and more.

A Safe Surgery since February 2019, Anwar spoke to us about how he and his colleagues have actively engaged patients to ensure accessible, high quality care. Reflecting the ethnic make-up of the borough, the majority of St Paul’s Way’s patients are of Bangladeshi origin.

Patient and community involvement are a clear priority for the practice. They both are encouraged to help shape services, and patient Health Champions are recruited and trained to engage and empower their communities, friends, and families. Anwar says:

“When we first took over the practice we wanted to learn from patients… we thought ‘how do we open this up for more people to come in and give us ideas about how we can improve services?’ And we thought ‘Let’s go out to the community and ask people and get them to work together with us to achieve some of the things we want to do’”.

St. Paul’s takes an open approach to patient registration, but accessibility remains one of their greatest challenges. They used to require proof of address and ID, but as many patients had neither, they realised a change was needed.  Having met patients who were turned away elsewhere, Anwar is conscious that other local practices have a different approach. He explained:

“We say, “You know what, we’re happy to register you” and it works out fine. There are still some surgeries who probably are not aware of how flexible they can be”.

Patients without a fixed address can register with the practice address and according to Anwar, this hasn’t raised any challenges – patients generally have a phone number or email address that staff can use to contact them. He’s hopeful about the potential for online services to improve access and raising awareness of these services is a current focus.

When one of their GPs heard about Safe Surgeries, St Paul’s decided it was a perfect fit, as well as a way to celebrate and share the work they’ve been doing for some time. Anwar says:

“We’re always kind of a forward-thinking surgery, we always want to try something new… to learn and try new incentives…We thought, ‘Actually we’re already doing this so why not buddy up with these guys and shout out about it a bit more’”.

Anwar is keen to raise awareness about what Safe Surgeries does and how GP surgeries, doctors and managers can make registration processes easier for patients. Ultimately, he hopes it will improve access for their wider community too, because there are still so many patients who are not seeing a doctor because they think they can’t or because they don’t have the right documents to hand.


To sign your practice up as a Safe Surgery and become part of a group of over 200 inclusive practices, click here.

*The GP practice in the image is not St Paul’s Way Medical Centre.

Written by Isabel Abbs and Jennie Corbett.


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