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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Minister sees GPs coping at flu peak

It must have dated from early positive experiences of general practice care. My toy animals were often being treated for diseases and some of my earliest reading was about medical work in Africa. Within medicine, I also had little doubt that I would be a GP for most of my time in hospital.

I was briefly attracted by flying in the RAF and I did get a flying scholarship which enabled me to learn to fly at their expense.

I got great inspiration from Dr Ted Sever, a consultant physician, for whom I worked as a medical registrar. He was a strong supporter of general practice and taught me to value education, rigorous thinking and hard work. I was impressed by Dr James Cameron, then chair of the BMA among other things.

It's difficult to identify a single one. Having struggled at school, I thought qualifying was an achievement I would be unlikely to better. Becoming a training practice, my appointment as deputy director of GP education and my period as chair of RCGP council were all high points.

I found it difficult to fulfil the needs of the practice while working with the college and the joint committee, as well as developing clinical governance in our PCG. I knew I was not contributing as well as I wanted to the practice. There was a growing separation, which we all found frustrating.

A drawing from a guide of Ullswater signed by Wainwright himself and a watercolour of the Black Mountains. These inspire me in darker moments. I also used to have a cartoon, which exposes both the desire for leadership while at the same time a frequent dependence on others for a sense of direction.

Travel, reading, especially history, music, especially opera, hill walking (currently in abeyance due to an arthritic hip), enjoying wine and owning dogs.

I am torn between high life and a more peaceful existence better suited to advancing years. The high life might be as a high-earning business leader, which would enable me to travel, or as a health minister, in which role I should like to see if we could achieve a proper place for general practice in the NHS. A more peaceful existence could perhaps be as a travel writer.

Not writing more down about my career or failing to develop the ability to do this. Writing down more of my ideas, possible plans and feelings would probably have enabled me to achieve more, be clearer in my own mind and, at least, to have been able to respond more easily to your questions.

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