The BMJ launches a new series, quizzing leading doctors about what makes them tick

In the first of a new series, entitled BMJ Confidential, in which leading doctors answer 24 questions about their hopes, fears, inspirations and aspirations, Clare Gerada, retiring chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), reveals that one day she would like to run the NHS.

Gerada also reveals that the happiest day of her life was when she saw her name on the MBBS finals list outside the canteen at University College Hospital. "I rang my father and said: 'Hello Dad, this is Dr Gerada."

She reveals that the worst mistake of her life was when she was working at the Department of Health and took home a big file as part of a major inquiry and thought she had lost it. "I thought it had fallen off my bike, I searched and re-searched the whole route, couldn't find it … thought my career was over. It was under the bed."

Her guiltiest pleasure is watching Come Dine with Me, with a glass of white wine and a spaghetti omelette, and her most treasured possession is her Jack Russell dog, Lucy.

She nominates Ken Clarke as the worst Health Secretary in her lifetime ("He was arrogant, didn't understand GPs and brought in the beginning of the purchaser-provider split and marketised the health service") and Stephen Dorrell as the best ("intelligent, in command of his brief, always polite, committed and listens").

NHS-logoThe BMJ has spent the last four months quizzing more than 20 medical leaders in the UK and abroad about what makes them tick and the answers will appear weekly over the next few months.

Future respondents include Sir Michael Rawlins, former head of NICE; Catherine DeAngelis, former editor in chief of JAMA; Dr Mike Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance; Sir Iain Chalmers, who was instrumental in setting up the Cochrane Collaboration; and Jack Wennberg, the American epidemiologist who first put unwarranted variation on the medical map and founded the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.

The full article can be found here: http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/october/BMJConfidential.pdf

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