The 2016 Helen Lester Memorial Lecture: Suffering and Hope
Professor Helen Lester was secretary to SAPC from 2004-2010 and Chair from 2010-2013. She was an inspirational GP and academic who made a difference to the lives of many people. Helen was truly one of the iconic figures of academic general practice.
Helen died peacefully at home with her family in March 2013 - a date which feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. To honour her memory, in 2014 SAPC started the annual Helen Lester Memorial Lecture series.
The inspiration for this lecture series came from Helen herself. Helen challenged us all to think more creatively about many things – but especially about mental health. Only weeks before her death, Helen gave the eponymous James MacKenzie lecture at the RCGP –a lecture in memory of another of the great names in our discipline who made such a difference in primary care. In her Bothering about Billy lecture, Helen challenged us all to think differently about the needs and care of people with complex and long standing mental health problems. And even more, to do things differently.
At our 2016 Conference in Dublin, we were delighted to welcome Professor Chris Dowrick to give the 3rd lecture in this series. In which he offered a powerful account of why, and how, GPs can work with their patients to Acknowledge Suffering, and Offer Hope. We are delighted that the full lecture has just been published in BJGP Open - a new international, peer reviewed, online-only journal of primary care that is the latest addition to the BJGP portfolio.