Friends Of Davenport House
Dr Alka Cashyap
Dr Cashyap has been at Davenport House since 1990 and enjoys all aspects of general practice, but has a special interest in women’s health, particularly in contraception and the menopause. She also does some acupuncture. In addition, she is a trainer within the Practice, and appraiser for GPs in the area.

Her hobbies include reading, cookery and music. She is married with two grown up children.
Her qualifications are MBBS, DRCOG, DCH, FP Cert, Dip Med Ed, and the MRCGP.
Dr Chas Theuwara
Dr Thenuwara joined the Practice in October 2006 as a full time replacement for Dr Harris. He qualified from St George’s Medical school in 1998 and has been a general practitioner since 2003.
His qualifications include MBBS MRCGP DCH. He has a special interest in dermatology and is keen to develop this further.

He is married with 3 children. His hobbies include viewing art, enjoying fine wines and playing many sports although tennis is his passion. His wife claims his best sport is avoiding housework.
Dr Panteleimon Chan
Few Davenport House patients will be in any doubt that a career in medicine is a vocation, a deep-rooted career choice that often goes back to childhood.   And at a time when the NHS seems to be constantly reinventing itself, becoming a GP is yet another commitment to helping the great British public.  

For new Surgery partner, Dr Panteleimon Chan, life in general practice has the potential to tick all his job satisfaction boxes.   But his medical career very nearly took a different direction.

‘I grew up in the States, Hong Kong, and Northumberland, hence the funny accent,’ he laughs.   ‘Doctors in the family?  Not at all.   I think I just always liked the idea of helping people, so I came down to London to study at Imperial College’.

‘I certainly never saw medicine as a way to make money.  Junior doctors earn less than a London tube driver after six years at medical school and a huge amount of debt, but I never doubted that it was the right thing for me to do.   I have dual nationality and could have gone to work in the US if I’d wanted higher wages, but I’m really not interested in the financial possibilities of medicine.’
Dr Chan graduated from Imperial College in 2005 at the start of a new Government programme aimed at streamlining doctors through their chosen specialisation, rather than through a variety of disciplines.  With a special interest in biomechanics and orthopaedic work, he underwent placements at leading hospitals such St Thomas’s, Guy’s and Stanmore.  But after a couple of years as a registrar, he realised that whilst he was focusing on a particular injury or part of a patient’s anatomy, he was missing the chance to deal with the whole person and become fully involved in patient care.

‘I didn’t want to become that kind of doctor, nor spend the rest of my career like that, so I applied for GP training in Northumberland,’ he says.  ‘But I’d always intended to come back south.  At the moment, I live with my wife and two young children in Mill Hill, but we’d love to move to Harpenden before they start secondary school.’

Dr Chan’s first six months at Davenport House have flown by, though he admits he is still trying to get to grips with the many local services and hospitals available to his patients.  But he’s thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to focus on general patient care again.   In time, he also hopes to be able to pursue his interest in surgery by carrying out minor operations and joint injections at Davenport House.

With the long hours worked by any full-time GP and with children of just 2 and 4 ½ at home, Dr Chan doesn’t have much time for outside interests.   ‘Sleeping is my main hobby at present!’ he says with feeling.  But he does admit to sneaking the odd hour to himself to work on his motorbike.

‘I used to commute to my first hospital placements in London on in-line skates,’ he reveals.  ‘My colleagues would travel by tube and I’d be sitting having coffee when they arrived!   I also played in-line hockey in the Southern league.   As the placements got further away, so I had to graduate to a bicycle and then a motorbike, but I’ve not had a chance to use it much recently so it needs a bit of attention.’

The perfect pastime, one imagines, for the man who loves biomechanics!
Dr Richard Yasotharan
It is no change of scene for new Practice partner Richard Yasotharan.  An old boy of St George’s School and St Albans School, he still can’t quite believe that the right position came up in his home town.

‘I’ve been a doctor for eight years and originally went down the hospital route,’ explains Richard, who joined Davenport House in August.  ‘I completed Core Medical Training in hospital which would allow me to pursue an interest in Cardiology but found that seeing the same kind of problems day in and day out wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my career’.

‘So I changed direction and moved into general practice.  Now I get to see different problems with every patient and also deal with every part of the body, which I find fascinating.  And working in Harpenden means that I get to help my local community too which I find immensely rewarding.’

Richard’s grandfather was a GP and he can clearly remember playing doctors with him as a small child.  A keen chess player, Richard always enjoyed science and maths at school, as well as solving problems, so medicine seemed like the ideal career.  He began his training at Barts in London, but he also undertook a number of local rotations, working at both Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals,

‘I’d heard a lot of good things about Davenport House, so I was delighted when a job came up,’ says Richard, who will be working in Surgery four days a week.  When he’s not seeing patients, he enjoys running, walking and going to the gym, so you may spot him exercising round Harpenden Common or Batf
ord Springs.

Richard’s original training means that he’ll have a special interest in cardio-vascular illnesses, but he’s also qualified in minor surgery and steroid injections.  ‘I enjoy psychiatry too, so I’m hoping to develop my skills in the field of mental health,’ he adds.
Dr Hayley Kirsop
When Hayley Kirsop joined Davenport House in February 2016, it really did feel like she was coming home.   For the last 15 years, Hayley had been living in London, but she grew up in Harpenden and went to secondary school at St Albans Girls School. 

‘In 2000, I headed into London to study at Imperial College for six years and then did my post-grad training in the capital,’ says Hayley, who ended up as partner in a Shepherd’s Bush practice.    ‘My son William is now 9 months old and I had every intention of going back to my partnership after maternity leave, but by then my husband and I had moved to Harpenden to be near my parents.   And when I really thought about the practicalities of commuting, I realised I needed to look at other options.’

Hayley spotted the advertisement for a GP role at Davenport House and when she came for the interview, remembers feeling completely at ease.  ‘Everyone was so nice that all of a sudden my plans turned upside down,’ she laughs.  ‘It was a great decision.’

Although there are no medics in her family, Hayley always wanted to be a doctor, and always a GP.  ‘I loved the idea of looking after whole families and also looking after people through various stages of their lives from babies with colic to toddlers with earache and teenage acne.  The job has proved every bit as interesting as I hoped, but the workload is far greater than I imagined, in every Practice I’ve ever worked in.

When Hayley Kirsop joined Davenport House in February 2016, it really did feel like she was coming home.   For the last 15 years, Hayley had been living in London, but she grew up in Harpenden and went to secondary school at St Albans Girls School. 

‘But life as a GP is hugely rewarding.   And it still has the ability to surprise me.   I’ve been amazed at the similarities between working in an inner city, pretty deprived area of London and working here in Harpenden.   The population is totally different, but the medical problems are surprisingly similar.’

As a salaried GP, Hayley is currently working Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, a regime that gives her a degree of flexibility with her new responsibilities as a parent.   But whilst she has become increasingly interested in children’s ailments thanks to baby William, her real specialisation is diabetes

‘I first became involved with diabetics during my hospital jobs in London and ended up rewriting lots of guidelines for the NW London area,’ she says. 

In what little time she has to herself, Hayley is a keen sportswoman, both active and passive.  She has run the London marathon in aid of a children’s charity; attends regular pilates classes; and is a season ticket holder for Chelsea.  ‘I was born into a family of passionate Chelsea supporters, so there was really no choice,’ she laughs.
Dr Anna Mallott
Book an appointment for Wednesday afternoon or anytime Thursday or Friday, and you may well meet Dr Anna Mallott, whose consulting room is on the ground floor at the back of the building.

‘With two lovely windows!’ laughs Anna, who hails from Norfolk.  ‘I didn’t have a window in my last Practice and I really love having plenty of daylight.’

Anna decided to be a doctor around the age of 16, just before she started her A-levels.  ‘My step-dad was a doctor and was one of the few adults I knew who really seemed to enjoy his job,’ she says.  ‘I guess that’s what really attracted me to medicine in the first place.’

Initially Anna wanted to do History at A-level but when it didn’t fit the timetabling, she changed to two English-based subjects and two sciences, biology and chemistry.

‘My initial choices wouldn’t have been appropriate for medicine, so clearly this career was meant to be!’ laughs Anna who went on to study at Newcastle.  She moved to London, working at hospitals in Welwyn Garden City, Enfield and Barnet, where she was lucky to get her first choice rotations in cardiology, orthopaedics, general surgery, acute medicine and A&E.  

‘I was tempted by a career in obs and gynae, but realised I liked what the midwives did more than the doctors’ role.  Paediatrics appealed too, but I never found myself in a clinic where I thought this would be brilliant to do every working day.  So I decided that GP work would really suit me.  Every case would be different and I would be able to follow patients and families through different stages of their lives.’

Anna finished her GP training in 2014 and did partner sabbatical cover and a salaried post before joining the Davenport House team in November 2017.  Married with a two-year-old daughter, she moved with her family to Harpenden in January so is just getting to know the town and its residents.

Work and motherhood don’t leave a lot of free time, but whenever they can, she and her husband head off to the cinema or West End theatre.  ‘But I hear there are some great local productions too, so we may not have to go so far next time,’ she says. 

General practice has certainly lived up to her expectations.  ‘I love the continuity of being a GP.  Getting to know people and doing the detective work that is sometimes necessary to diagnose their problem.  When you work in a hospital, you only ever see snapshots of people’s lives, whereas GPs get to see the end result.   I particularly enjoy the family element too, seeing patients through pregnancy and birth, and then watching their children develop.’

Looking ahead, Anna would love to become a registered trainer, nurturing other young doctors in general practice.  So how does she feel about today’s NHS?  ‘The environment has clearly changed hugely since Aneurin Bevan set it up in 1948.  The time pressures are very different and resources are strained.

‘I do feel that some of the policies aren’t being thought through long term, but in the main, it’s still a wonderful system that does a lot of things very well.  It’s just a shame that we usually only hear the negatives.’

Anna’s certainly very happy with her own little corner of the NHS at Davenport House.  ‘The people here are brilliant!’ she says.  ‘Not just the doctors, but the front-of-house staff and the secretaries too.  Everyone’s been so helpful and it’s a very positive environment to work in.   And I get two windows!  Just perfect!’
Dr Katherine Nowlan
GP Katharine Nowlan has enjoyed many different experiences in her path to joining the team at Davenport House.   Amongst them was an 8-week placement in rural Borneo, where she saw a whole different side of medicine, climbed Mount Kinabalu, and - an added bonus - met the man she was to marry.   But Kathryn’s been very happy to settle for a career in the jungle of general practice instead.

‘For a while, I wasn’t sure whether to go for hospital medicine or life as a GP,’ says Katharine who grew up near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.   ‘I spent a year at Lister Hospital in Stevenage doing general hospital medicine which I really liked, but after a while it felt rather like a conveyor belt, never seeing the end result, so I switched to GP training instead.’

Katharine doesn’t come from a medical family.  In fact they couldn’t be more different.  Her father does sculpture and furniture restoration, whilst her mother is a Design & Technology teacher.  ‘I loved English and Science at school and felt that medicine would encapsulate both, involving both people skills and scientific training.  But I chose quite an unusual route. 

‘I did two years of my course before squeezing a BSC into 12 months and then going back to my medical training.   It seemed a great opportunity and that intercalation year out of medicine involved a very different, self-driven work ethic that was a complete change.  It also showed me that I didn’t wan
t to do research in a lab with a pipette.  I missed the people side of the job.’

After her exams. Katharine headed out to Borneo for a different challenge before returning to start her foundation years at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey. She then moved to Kingston and later to Stevenage.  When she decided to choose GP work over hospitals, she joined a training scheme in Welwyn Garden City, carrying out most of her practical general practice work in Potters Bar.

‘I was eight months pregnant when I took one set of exams,’ laughs Katharine who is now the mother of a two-year-old boy. ‘I took a year off on maternity leave and enjoyed every moment of being with my son, and then went back to do my final year part-time. 

‘Davenport House Surgery is my first post-training position and I’m working Monday, Wednesday and Friday.   They’re pretty full-on days but I’m really enjoying myself.  I’ve always loved paediatrics and there are lots of young families here, but I love the variety of ages and cases. 

‘The Practice had been highly spoken of at other places I had worked in the area, and I’ve found everyone really friendly and approachable.  There’s a really good team spirit here.  We’re always learning as GPs and they make it very easy here to ask questions and share opinions.  I’m also enjoying supervising other GP trainees.’

Work and family don’t leave Katharine much time for herself but she and husband both love the outdoors and often head off with toddler and rucksack to enjoy the countryside around their St Albans home.   As for her career, she’s pleased to be setting down roots.

‘Long term, I’m happy to see what comes along,’ says Katharine. ‘I’m very interested in women’s health but I’ll see what the Practice needs and try to fit in.’   So there could be different mountains to climb in the years ahead!
Dr Sonia Savla
GP Sonia Savla is no stranger to Harpenden either.  She spent eight months at Davenport House as a trainee three years ago, so will already be familiar to many patients.  Sonia wanted a career that combined her love of science and working with people, so trained in medicine at Imperial College in London. 

Paediatrics beckoned for a while but the long, anti-social hours, and the 9-year training programme eventually convinced her that she preferred the better work-life balance offered by general practice.   Living in Dunstable, Sonia then trained within the Luton catchment area.

‘It’s lovely to be back working with the same partners at Davenport House,’ says Sonia, who works Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  ‘Harpenden is a lovely town to work in.  And for my first job after training, it’s nice to be back where you know people, understand how the system works, and who is responsible for what.’

Sonia has completed the first part of a diploma in child health and hopes to complete the second part over the next year or so.  Eventually she would also like to become a trainer for other young GPs. 

When she’s not in Surgery, Sonia loves spending time with her family and is a keen baker, much to the delight of her colleagues. 

‘We’ve just had Diwali and I brought in a tin of traditional pastries filled with nuts and deep fried.  A bit of a naughty treat though, so definitely only one each!’
Friends of Davenport House, c/o Davenport House Surgery, Bowers Way, Harpenden AL5 4HX- Charity Number 1184307

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