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Brief Encounters: Dr Paul Charlson, GP entrepreneur

Dr Paul Charlson describes how he has built a career as a portfolio GP

Name Dr Paul Charlson

Age 53

Location Hull, Yorkshire

Roles Portfolio GP/GPwSI in Hull, dermatologist and aesthetic doctor at Skinqure Clinic, strategic medical director One Medicare Group, QA Tutor at the Yorkshire Deanery, agony aunt for the Yorkshire Post, vice chair of Conservative Health, and board member at the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

What’s the best thing about your role?

It is the variety of roles that makes my week interesting. I meet fascinating people every week and work in some great venues. It is never boring. One Medicare is a rapidly developing provider company with a great management team so I enjoy working with the people there. One day I might be performing liposuction then a routine GP surgery. Another might be a dermatology clinic or meeting someone at the Department of Health or a board meeting.

I like being involved with politics and going to London. My aesthetic work is challenging and combines business with medicine which I like – but it is not for the faint-hearted.

What’s the most common assumption GPs make about your role?

Some probably think I am a bit of a maverick but increasingly GPs are looking at other roles and are interested in what I do. I am not sure what people make of me.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?

Juggling with a complicated diary; adjusting to new roles and being accepted as part of a team; getting all the work completed on occasions as I like to finish projects properly; ensuring I still have time for people that I value, and for golf.

What’s the hardest thing about combining your role with a career in general practice?

It is a question of being flexible and organised. I miss some aspects of full-time practice as a GP but I was getting stale and bored so my current working life suits me. However nothing is certain and there is an anxiety that it will all dry up tomorrow. That said, I do not find it particularly difficult combining several roles.

What’s been the highlight of your whole career so far?

I was very proud to be awarded my FRCGP by assessment. I have been lucky and had plenty of highlights. I have just built my new medical clinic and thanks to my wife’s interior design skills it looks fabulous.

What’s the worst thing a patient’s ever said to you?

I pay your wages. True, of course.

Name one living person who inspires you.

My wife Pru, she copes with us all including my son with Asperger’s Syndrome.

What’s the best piece of advice your GP trainer gave you?

Avoid private roads with pot holes they can damage your car suspension as he sent me for another home visit to the wilds of Surrey/Hampshire unadopted road country.

If you weren’t a medic, what would you like to do for a living?

I’d like to be a politician, or do something in business.

At work, when are you happiest?

When I achieve something meaningful, which might be sorting out a patient with a complex problem or someone leaving my clinic with a smile on their face.

What makes you angry?

Senseless rules as they are strangling our society and small business in particular. The medical negligence system in the UK which in my opinion is adversely affecting medical practice, costing the public a fortune and contributing to the senseless rules.

Without naming the figure, how much remuneration do you get for this work?

I work hard and financially do reasonably well, certainly I am better off than when I was a GP partner but I also have a lot more aggravation.

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