Springwood GP Dr Arshad Merchant named 2021 Most Outstanding General Practitioner by The Australian Patients Association

A Blue Mountains GP has been named this year's Most Outstanding General Practitioner by The Australian Patients Association.

Dr Arshad Merchant works in Springwood and Blackheath for Balance Healthcare Clinic.

He said he felt honoured and valued by the recognition.

"The Australian Patients Association award is a highly prestigious award where you are nominated by a patient and judged by a panel of experts. I am grateful to all my patients for their support and trust they have put in me," he said.

Dr Merchant completed his specialist GP training at Guys and St Thomas' Hospital in London in 2009.

In 2011 he led a project which developed a 'green book' which allowed patients with chronic inflammatory lung disease to carry around up-to-date information in case of an emergency.

A year later he moved to Australia where he lives in Springwood with his wife, three children and their family dog.

Dr Arshad, who also looks after residents in aged care facilities across the Mountains, has a simple explanation for what makes a good GP.

"A good doctor understands responsibility better than privilege and practice accountability better than business," he said.

A good doctor understands responsibility better than privilege and practice accountability better than business.

Dr Arshad Merchant

"GPs are always the central part of any health system and our journey with our clients is from cradle to grave. The current COVID 19 pandemic and lockdown has made our relationship with our patients even stronger," he said.

The Most Outstanding General Practitioner accolade, which is sponsored by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, highlights excellent diagnosis and treatment skills, ready availability, care and empathy, and strong interpersonal skills.

The independent, not-for-profit Australian Patients Association (APA) operates the awards to generate and reward excellence.

APA general manager Jas Streten believes the role of GPs is among the most important in the health system and deserves to be recognised for that status.

"General practitioners are one of the most important medical professionals - and certainly primary care professionals - that patients have a relationship with," he told specialist publication, newsGP.

"They are really key to the health system and patients managing or controlling their health. So it's important they're actually recognised for the role that they play in the health system, and ultimately the patients they care for."

The Australian Patients Association hopes to hold an in-person awards ceremony in Melbourne on October 21.