Profile of The Hereward Practice's new NED, Dr Tom Ashley-Norman


Dr Tom Ashley-Norman, the new Non-Executive Director at The Hereward Practice, has an interesting career which has included forensic medical investigation and teaching anatomy. He enjoys the scope of his work and says the lessons learned in both disciplines have enhanced his daily role as a GP Partner.   

His GP training was in rural West Yorkshire before he relocated back to his home roots in Lincolnshire. Here he worked with police as a Forensic Medical Examiner for eight years alongside his GP role: 'I went to crime scenes, unexpected deaths and assessed patients in police custody who were withdrawing from drugs, alcohol or had other medical issues. The skills I learned around mental state examinations have been especially useful as I became confident in making suicide risk assessments and performing mental health act assessments on detainees that the police were worried about.  As forensic work is medico-legal it made me very aware of the importance of effective listening, communication and clear documentation. Reports I had written for the courts had to be written very precisely and I am acutely aware of the importance of concise and accurate documentation in our medical records.'  

Profile of The Hereward Practice's new NED, Dr Tom Ashley-Norman

Dr Ashley-Norman then became a Clinical Teaching Fellow in Human Anatomy at Nottingham University, instructing students for a day a week. 'We do full body dissection which is a real hands-on approach to learning the intricacies of the human body. The students are really enthusiastic. Each session is usually on a different body part - yesterday was the leg. It is amazing - the more you teach, the more you retain and improve your own knowledge. Many of the students are in their first year of medical school so my role is to give a clinical edge to their studies and for them to understand why they need to know what they are being taught.   

'I started off my career not knowing which direction it would take me in and I have generally made decisions based on what I enjoy doing. I feel very privileged and lucky because I have found myself in unique situations - giving evidence in murder trials, witnessing the chaos of a busy police custody block on a Friday night and now helping students who are queasy as they get used to new adventures in anatomical learning. Throughout all of these roles though General Practice has been a constant force; my colleagues are a source of enduring camaraderie and patients continue to teach me each day.'

'I was always an advocate for joining Lakeside as I like the idea of being part of a larger organisation that has a strategic eye on the future and can draw on the large pool of skills within its staff.  The recent introduction of Doctrin is just another example of a progressive organisation, offering our patients a convenient, user-friendly way to submit online consultations. Patient feedback has been hugely encouraging.'    

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