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Carry on doctor: Simon Opher to remain a GP

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Dr Simon Opher will remain a GP at his May Lane surgery in Dursley after his success in the General Election.

A GP for 28 years, Dr Opher romped home to claim a seat in Parliament after Labour reclaimed the marginal seat from Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie, securing a majority of 11,000, turning over Ms Baillie’s 2019 majority of 3,840.

In addition to his new role at Westminster Dr Opher is intending to continue as a part-time GP, delivering one surgery a week. A new replacement doctor will cover the rest of the week.

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Dr Simon Opher and Labour MP Anneliese Dodds at May Lane Surgery in Dursley in 2023. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

Dr Opher led the district’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, and pioneered social prescribing, which has now become national NHS policy, for which he was recognised with an MBE in 2016. 

In his acceptance speech in the early hours of Friday morning, Dr Opher said: “It’s been quite a journey since I first arrived in Dursley as a junior doctor almost exactly 29 years ago, and I have as much to learn now as I did then. But I’m motivated by the same things – the desire to do the best I can for the whole community, regardless of who they are or where they’re from. And a strong commitment to serve them and put their needs first.

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Dr Simon Opher (centre) with his wife Rachel and father, Philip.

“Right across the constituency, people have been telling me they’re desperate for change. And this result confirms that, with a total repudiation of the ‘me first’, divisive, self-serving politics of the Tory government and the right wing parties. 

“As part of a changed Labour Government under Keir Starmer’s leadership, we’ll deliver the change people have asked for, we’ll restore hope, and we’ll get on with the job of rebuilding Britain. I’m excited to make a start.”

Stroud District Council (SDC) has a reputation for the speed, efficiency and accuracy of its election counts, but had to start planning for this election almost before the ink was dry on the results of the local elections in May. 

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Former Stroud Labour MP David Drew (left) with Dr Simon Opher.

Dr Opher recognised the counting and polling station staff, and his fellow candidates, in particular the outgoing Conservative MP: “I’d like to thank my fellow candidates for putting normal life on hold and stepping up to present another democratic option to voters. Particularly to Siobhan Baillie who has served this community to the best of her abilities for the last five years.

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Dr Simon Opher and former Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie.

“Many people will have voted Labour for the first time in this election or for the first time in a while. To them I say ‘I will not let you down. With this Labour Government I will do everything I can to deliver the change you voted for. To restore hope. To rebuild our NHS, restore our environment, decarbonise our energy, protect the climate, support our schools and young people, revitalise our high streets, bring back the buses, cut the cost of living and deliver the affordable homes you need.’”

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Dr Opher, with friend and Labour Party colleagues, celebrates he result.

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