One to One with Keith Vaz

Monday 23rd December 2019 10:40 EST


Amar Vijay Kaw was born in Srinagar, India. His father was a Professor of Physics and Chemistry and his mother was a house wife although she had an engineering degree.

Amar attended at the Tyndale Biscoe School. Initially his interests were more with sports than studies to the displeasures of his parents. He was a keen sportsman with interest in Cricket, Badminton and table tennis.

However, he eventually achieved greater success in the school leaving examination where he stood first (amongst all schools in the state) breaking all-time record of highest score.

He later joined the Government Medical College where he received his medical degree. Following in the footsteps of his sister, he came to UK and initially did some research in the William Harvey Research Institute London (endothelial dysfunction in diabetes under Professor Eric Anggard). Amar managed to publish over 7 papers in his 3 years spent in research.

However, after a difficult decision he left research and decided to continue his medical career and did hospital medicine for 2 years following which he finally decided to become a General Practitioner. Being a GP enabled him to achieve his ambitions of specialising in diabetes, anticoagulation and minor surgery and later becoming a dedicated clinical tutor and teaching medical students. He has also recently qualified to be a Quality Improvement Lead for his Local network (North network Havering CCG).

1) Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?

Britain, in particular London. Although it can never replace home, the diverse and vibrant nature of the capital and having lived here for the better part of 25 years makes it as good as home. Add to that the numerous friends I have made over the years and you have something special going on.

2) What are your proudest achievements?

a. School Leaving Examination. As mentioned, earlier I stood first in over 30,000 students for my school leaving examination breaking an all-time record. Although, I was amongst the top 5 students in my class, the astounding result took everyone by surprise including my school teachers, my parents and not least of all, myself.

b. Running a successful GP surgery which was recently nominated as best by a local poll conducted amongst the Tesco shoppers (local Tesco)

3) What inspires you?

The need and constant desire to be the best at whatever I do. This could include the sports I play or my role as a GP.

The reason I took up teaching medical students was partly to improve my own medical knowledge to a much higher level.

Also, I frequently employ services of a dedicated coach if I feel my game (sport) is not up to scratch.

4) What has been biggest obstacle in your career?

Lack of time. Although it might appear bit crazy, but I would have liked to achieve more academically in way of doing further diploma courses, but a lack of time precludes me from that.

5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?

My elder sister, who is also a doctor and has got a PhD in pharmacology (William Harvey research institute) a very rare combination. Since my childhood I always looked up to her as she would always do well in her school and college. She really excelled in her PhD studies and worked for some time under Late, Sir John Vane a Nobel Laurette.

6) What is the best aspect about your current role?

The satisfaction of seeing people responding to treatment especially children and the elderly. Also using reassuring words to calm down very anxious people.

Teaching medical students, not only contributing to help them but also in the process improving my medical knowledge to be a better clinician.

Making case presentations for my GP colleagues gives me immense pleasure mainly due to that fact that I’m somehow contributing in helping my colleagues.

7) And the worst?

Excessive paperwork and lack of time. Unfortunately, in the last 4-5 years the paperwork has reached insane proportions with a lot of duplication, and something needs to change.

8) What are your long-term goals?

To continue to improve and grow as a GP and serve the community for as long as possible.

9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?

"The way the NHS is run. The British NHS is a unique organisation, however, due to abuse and misuse it unsustainable in its present form. A root and branch reforms are required to streamline it and make it more efficient".

10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?

Swami Vivekananda - one of India’s most celebrated spiritual minds whose free-thinking philosophy and powerful oratory took both the US and Europe by storm at the end of the 19th Century. His extemporaneous talks, a mixture of moral and mystical, were lively, entertaining and uplifting. Just what the doctor ordered!

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