Shiv was born on 25 October 1938 in central India. His father’s business was in Bombay (now Mumbai) so he stayed with him to complete his education. He could not access the Bombay medical colleges as he had not been born there and the medical college in Central Indian state could not accept him as his qualifying exam was taken in Bombay, so, aged 17, he had to make representation to the Health Minister. He then attended medical college in Indore. He completed a Masters in Surgery, and in view of his interest in cardiothoracic surgery, after working in Mumbai, decided to go to the UK in 1971 for about two years to get additional training. He initially worked in Accident and Emergency at the Royal Albert Infirmary, Wigan. He found another six month post as a Registrar at the London Chest Hospital, and then went to work in Liverpool. He did not extend his study leave from the medical college in India, foregoing his job in India and continued his training in the UK. Potential employers told him to study for the Fellowship exam in order to get other work, but Shiv did not want to do this. He decided to go into general practice, doing a lot of locum work initially, and then joining as partner with another Asian GP who had suffered a heart attack. Shiv took over his practice, then in 1981 took over another practice and was the first-single handed doctor in Liverpool to employ a practice nurse. Shiv became involved in television programmes for Asian people, took up a role as a local magistrate, as well as the Chair of the British International Doctors’ Association, formerly known as the Overseas Doctors Association (ODA). He was the first Asian or Black doctor to be elected as treasurer of the General Medical Council in its long history of 150 years. He is part retired, continuing to attend GMC Fitness to Practice panel meetings.
Creating the space for Asian doctors to succeed
In 1994 when I became a member of the General Medical Council, with the same spirit that I should contribute, I was able to start the PLAB test in India. Doctors were coming and the pass rates were only 30 per cent. That means that 70 per cent were failing, living in this country in harsh conditions, away from family, away from their profession, so why not do the examination in their country of origin? So a two-man delegation went to India, myself and the Chief Executive and started the PLAB test in India. And I’m happy to say after that, it has started in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, and many other countries.