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At the heart of general practice since 1960

CV: Professor Sean Hilton

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

I always wanted to, but as undergraduates we had no exposure to general practice at all, and many of our teachers discouraged it. I started in pathology and became a registrar in microbiology, but soon realised I really wanted a career in general practice and changed track.

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

Never considered it. My mother thought I should have done law. If I hadn't got my A-level grades, I had a fall-back place to study food technology.

Who's your career role model/guru?

Paul Freeling for his intellect and vision, Sir Donald Irvine (former president of the GMC) for his courage and integrity.

What's your career high-point so far?

Succeeding Paul Freeling as head of general practice at St George's. There have been lots of highs, but I hope there may be one or two more yet.

And the low point?

Lots of those too. A major partnership dispute 20 years ago was hard, but strengthened the bonds with those who stayed.

Anything interesting on your surgery/office wall?

A montage of WWI Western Front memorials. They counterbalance the hysterical hype fed to us by the media about how bad things are today.

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

Music (Schubert, Jackson Browne) and gardening.

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

You asked for concise answers. I'll send you a list of my top 100 if you like.

Sean Hilton has been a professor of general practice and primary care at St George's Hospital Medical School, London, since 1992

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