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At the heart of general practice since 1960

CV: Dr Suraj Sharma

Dr Suraj Sharma talks us through his career so far

Dr Suraj Sharma talks us through his career so far

What/who made you decide to go into general practice?

The support of my wife. Her hard work as practice manager ­ as well as in running our household ­ freed me up to do so much community work outside the practice as well.

What would you have done if you hadn't been a doctor?

Acting. From childhood I was involved in drama, which I continued at medical college. But I was under a lot of pressure to become a doctor from my parents. At the end of the day I was able to enjoy the public contact that general practice brings, so I don't regret it.

Who's your career role model/guru?

David Colin-Thome ­ national clinical director for primary care. I met him for the first time in 1996 when he came as a guest to our small practices association. I was so impressed with his visionary outlook on primary care, personality and mannerism. He has been instrumental in shaping primary care of the future ­ giving patients more choice, nurse practitioners, practice-based commissioning, and so on.

What's your career high-point so far?

I became the first Asian councillor in the history of Liverpool, and this enriched my career as a GP as it gave me more insight into the lives of my patients, especially in deprived areas.

And the low-point?

I can't think of any career low-points, but I regret not spending time with my children as they grew up because of work commitments. I spend a lot of time with my one-year-old granddaughter.

Anything interesting on your surgery/office wall?

Photograph of a laughing frog. It keeps everybody happy and gives the impression people can take a long leap in their life if they work hard.

What leisure interests do you/would you list on your Who's Who entry?

Politics, chess, that I enjoy musicals and drama if I get time, and playing with my granddaughter.

What's your fantasy career move?

To be a member of the House of Lords. I would try to bring more diversity and common-sense to politics, ensure that health care reforms slow down a bit, and give frontline workers in the health service more power.

What's your greatest mistake in your career so far?

I took part in more politics than I should have, and failed to achieve a satisfactory work/life balance.

Suraj Sharma was a singlehanded GP in Liverpool for 25 years until 2002 and is now part-time salaried ­ he was the first Asian to be elected to Liverpool city council in 2000, and is an examiner for PLAB examination part 2 for GMC UK

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