Arup Banerjee

Arup was born in 1935 in Calcutta, now Kolkata, where he attended school. He went on to the Presidency College and the Calcutta Medical College, a highly respected institution set up by the British, where he met his wife. He found work initially as a houseman in the medical college in which he had trained, and then subsequently in the South India Medical School. Arup and his wife came to the UK in 1960, initially to gain their MRCP qualifications. Arup held a variety of jobs in London, Northampton and Southampton. He spent three years in Malaysia with his family, lecturing in Kuala Lumpur where his third child was born, and then returned to England where he took up a post as a Senior Registrar in Portsmouth. He was then offered a post as Consultant in elderly medicine at Bolton General Hospital, where he was also given the opportunity to conduct research on nutrition at Whittington Hospital. Whilst at Bolton General Hospital, he was appointed Medical Director of Bolton Hospital Trust. Arup retired aged 62. After retirement he was invited to take up the position of Director of Elderly Services at the University of South Manchester and Clinical Director of Elderly Services, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust. He has held a number of honorary posts including President of the British Geriatrics Society, and has been involved within the BMA, the Health Advisory Service, NHS Management and Royal College of Physicians Geriatrics Committee among others. In 1996 he received an OBE.

Humble beginnings

We had absolutely no contact, no link, had £40 in the pocket but we had an enormous amount of courage. We were together in a very cold country and we didn't have coats! It was September, very cold and it was raining, so one chap saw us and he said to us go and buy a coat 'It is a good shop Burton, go and buy a coat. It will cost you about seven or eight guineas', he said. Finally I got this locum job in surgery and it was a good experience, but we didn't have accommodation. So the hospital gave me a single room, and either my wife used to sleep on the bed and I used to sleep on the floor or vice versa!

Pulling strings

I sat on the merit awards committee for about twelve years and the amount of lobbying you get! And  people say, 'Oh alright he's one of our chaps, you should try to pull some strings' but I say, 'Sorry mate, no string pulling for me'. If the CV is good, if he's done some good work, I shall support him but I'm not going to pull any strings for somebody who's not deserving. I told my children when they became doctors, don't expect daddy will pull strings because I don't like that. You get better and then you'll get something out of your own merits, that's the way you should receive it, that's the way I did it in my life, I didn't have anybody to help me.

Arup Banerjee

India