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West Berkshire GP dispensing coronavirus advice to the nation during BBC Breakfast

East Ilsley doctor will now answer your questions in a Newburytoday Q&A

Sarah Bosley


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West Berkshire GP dispensing coronavirus advice to the nation during BBC Breakfast

Dr Rachel Ward

If you’re up early enough in the morning, you may recognise Rachel Ward. 

The East Ilsley doctor has been dispensing medical advice to the nation on BBC Breakfast throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The GP, who will turn 40 years old this week, is one of the BBC flagship show’s team of eight doctors who regularly appear to help explain and de-myth the latest developments in the pandemic.

And now she is preparing to answer your questions too, in a Covid Q&A in the Newbury Weekly News.

“My time on BBC Breakfast started when we were having the daily Downing Street briefings and we would reflect on what was said the following day,” she explained.

“Things can change pretty last minute, which to start with was a bit daunting.

“You get to know the presenters and they are all very, very nice and make it very easy.”

Outside of her BBC appearances, Dr Ward has been working tirelessly at her practice in Didcot and admits that things wer “really stressful” back in March.

“We weren’t seeing loads of cases, but we had to change our whole service offering,” she said.

“The PPE shortage was incredibly stressful because we have a responsibility to protect our staff.

“I spent one weekend phoning around any local vets, dentists, trying to get any masks I could. 

“It shouldn’t have been happening.

“I also found it really sad that we weren’t able to see many patients face-to-face and I missed that.

“The whole impact of Covid on mental health is something we will be seeing more of.

“I do a lot of training and teaching too, but we couldn’t have any students or juniors in the practice.”

But, thankfully, she said that everyone is more prepared now, with the logistics already in place to better deal with whatever the winter may bring.

She is concerned still, however, that people are ignoring potentially serious symptoms.

“There is still quite a lot of concern that people are  more reluctant to go and ask for healthcare advice,” she said.

“There’s certainly a fear that people are presenting later with cancer symptoms and my plea is that if you have a health concern don’t delay it; you must get medical advice.”

Dr Ward, who lives with her husband and two young children, added that her family are ensuring her television appearances don’t go to her head.

“The children had a tough time of it at first as my husband and I were both incredibly busy,” she said.

“They were very into the clapping, but they are completely over the whole BBC Breakfast thing now.”

If you have a question you would like us to put to Dr Rachel Ward, please email

The questions and answers will be printed in the NWN next month.

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