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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Lessons for GPs over asthma but not blame

Dr Shiv Pande answers the

Pulse careers questionnaire

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

In 1971, I came to the UK for higher training in cardiothoracic surgery. After working as registrar for three years, and not getting a senior registrar's job (as I had not even attempted to enter the college's money-making project ­ fellowship exams!), I was advised by friends to join general practice. At that time, in1975, I could have started a new surgery in a 'designated area' without any GP training. However, I opted to train for a year as I was changing my career. This was very useful and it gave me a good start in general practice.

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

I was very much determined to be a doctor, so the question did not arise. But if it had, I would have joined my father's business in Bombay.

Who's your career role model/guru?

As I moved from cardiothoracic surgery to general practice, I had two different gurus. The first was the late Professor P. K .Sen, a cardiac surgeon in Bombay, who had done the first heart transplant in India following the one by Christian Barnard of South Africa. The second was my GP trainer here in Liverpool, the late Dr H. B. Kean, who gave me insight into both the clinical and business aspects of general practice and also made me a good listener and critical analyst.

What's your career high-point so far?

Without any doubt, meeting Mother Teresa on March 8, 1997, in Calcutta. During our conversation I advised her to hand over her responsibilities to the next in line but to

continue to be the head of her charity. It came as a pleasant surprise reading in newspapers on March 12, 1997, that she had done just that!

Now (with tongue in cheek) I can say at least one person has followed my advice in full,

immediately.

And the low-point?

Medical and Government organisations have produced tonnes of reports on discrimination in medicine. The Campaign for Racial Equality and laws have been in existence since the 1970s but still no action has been taken. Not a single person has ever appeared in front of GMC in all these years on a charge of discriminating against a colleague.

Anything interesting on your surgery/office wall?

My photo with Mother Teresa and the motto 'Courtesy costs nothing but pays heavy dividends'.

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

Charity and community work which gives me an opportunity to repay my debt to society and help underprivileged people.

What's your fantasy career move?

To be a successful actor. I admire people who can play the other person's role and bring out the reality in the character they are playing.

Dr Shiv Pande is chair of the British International Doctors Association, a GMC council member and a GP in Liverpool

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