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CAMHS won't see you now

US-style matrons: the answer to a crisis or just a waste of money?

Professor David Weller answers the Pulse careers questionnaire

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

Our family doctor ­ I have strong childhood memories. There is quite a contrast between suburban general practice in Adelaide in the 1960s and post-GMS contract NHS; each have their own qualities and shortcomings.

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

I'd like to have been a jazz musician in smoky bars in New York. But I suppose that would have been even more hazardous than being a GP.

Who's your career role model/guru?

I have a few. Chris Silagy was my head of department at Flinders University in Adelaide and was one of the leading lights in evidence-based health care, helping to found the Cochrane Collaboration. He had an unbelievable capacity for hard work which I would never want to emulate, but I admired his clarity of thought and enthusiasm greatly. I had a couple of very inspirational GP trainers in rural Australia who handled anything from multiple trauma to counselling with great skill ­ or that's how it seemed to me at the time. I loved the breadth and interest of their clinical life. My most important career model is my wife Belinda, a gifted neurologist with the skill I lack of achieving work-home life balance.

What's your career high-point so far?

Coming to Edinburgh for this post. It's full of interest and challenges. Academic general practice in the UK is modest in capacity compared with other disciplines, but it's a vibrant and collegiate community to belong to.

And the low-point?

Coming here and realising how bad the winters are. Getting buried under admin and management. It's a low-point which comes and goes.

Anything interesting on your surgery/office wall?

My daughter's picture of a bird of paradise alongside a cardiovascular risk chart.

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

Running (having a go at the NY marathon this year, raising money for MS). Travelling with our three young children.

What's your fantasy career move?

For some of my time, being foreign correspondent for a broadsheet newspaper with an unlimited expense account. For the rest of my time, doing the job I do now ­ but somewhere warm.

Professor David Weller is head of the general practice division of community health sciences at the University of Edinburgh

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