Raj was born on 1 June 1948 in Singapore, one of five children. His father worked in the Local Authority Water Board and Raj attended a government primary school and government aided Catholic secondary school. He then won a scholarship provided by his secondary school so that he could continue his secondary education and was taught by French Canadian Catholic clerics. On the advice of his school, he was then sent to a Jesuit College in Madras to study for his ‘A’ levels and he won a Government of India scholarship to study medicine in Andhra Medical College in Vishakhapatnam, India. He came to the UK in 1974 once his medical education was completed and worked initially as a locum Senior House Officer in chest diseases at Gateforth Hospital, North Yorkshire. He intended to return to Singapore after completing his postgraduate study but the Singaporean Government refused to recognize the Indian degrees of those who had qualified in the UK. Since his degree was not recognized back home, Raj decided to stay in the UK, separated from his friends and family in Singapore. He then re-qualified in order to remain in the United Kingdom. He found the work schedule fairly relentless, which made studying difficult, but he eventually went into general practice in South Leeds, taking over a small single-handed practice in 1981 and building it into a four-doctor practice with a list of 6000 patients by 2010. The practice also facilitates undergraduate training. Raj is now retired but continues to work as a sessional doctor and is also keenly interested in continuing medical education. His clinical interests are in cardiology, paediatrics and dermatology and he was also an Honorary Lecturer in General Practice at Leeds University. Raj has been involved with Leeds Local Medical Committee from 1995 and has held the posts of Assistant Secretary, Vice Chairman and later Chairman, a position he continues to hold.
Finding your place in the local community
In 1979 General Practice became a popular specialty for British graduates and I had to find a job. The lush middle class suburbs would not take an overseas graduate and it was in deprived industrial South Leeds that I was offered a job, to take on a small practice where the senior partner was about to retire. I built my practice in this very deprived area of South Leeds. The population is entirely poor white working class so in my early years I received a great deal of racial abuse. Now, I am part of the furniture.