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CAMHS won't see you now

My concern at erosion of GPs' role with PCTs

Dr Aneez Esmail answers the Pulse careers questionnaire

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

I was active in medical politics as a student and met a group of doctors who were active in the Medical Practitioners Union. They were pioneering the development of general practice, working in deprived communities and doing some amazing things. It was quite inspirational and it opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be achieved by committed doctors who were prepared to develop a first-class service for some of the most deprived communities. Following a short period in public health I decided to return to general practice because I missed the clinical work.

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

I probably would have ended up being a politician or lawyer. I love public speaking and debating. I've also always been fascinated by architecture and buildings and doing something creative in this area would have been good.

Who's your career role model/guru?

I've had some wonderful mentors but there is no one person who has been a career role model or guru. I tend to draw inspiration from historical figures such as Dr Norman Bethune, a Canadian physician, and Dr Kotnis, an Indian physician. Both doctors gave up everything to go and work with the anti-Japanese forces in China. I'm always a sucker for supporting the underdog.

What's your career high-point so far?

Probably working with the Shipman Inquiry as the medical adviser to Dame Janet Smith ­ it was a great intellectual challenge and it gave me the opportunity to be involved in policy developments in a wide range of areas, from death certification, medical regulation and revalidation. I think the impact of the recommendations, if they are implemented, will be huge and the personal satisfaction will be considerable.

And the low-point?

Being passed over for promotion about four years ago, but things worked out in the end.

Anything interesting on your surgery/office wall?

A poem by Bertolt Brecht 'A worker's speech to a doctor': This is an extract

'When we come to you

Our rags are torn off us

And you listen all over our naked body.

As to the cause of our illness

One glance at our rags would

Tell you more. It is the same cause that wears out

Our bodies and our clothes.

The pain in our shoulder comes

You say, from the damp; and this is also the reason

For the stain on the wall of our flat.

So tell us:

Where does the damp come from?'

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

First and foremost my family. And then probably cycling and cooking.

What's your fantasy career move?

I think I have it at the moment. I've had four years out of mainstream academia and am looking forward to restarting my academic career. But I wouldn't say no to a senior academic appointment at a university in Greece along with a house on a Greek island. (Makes sense if you know that my wife is Greek!)

Professor Aneez Esmail is professor of general practice at the University of Manchester

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