WORKING in such a caring profession you would think Dr Petre Jones's mental illness would have been treated with more sympathy than most.

But the GP was forced out by his business partners in December 2002 from the surgery he founded and had run for 13 years.

He believed his career was finished but, with support from his own GP and loved ones, he rebuilt his confidence and started again with a new business partner in February 2003.

The 47-year-old, of Newham, suffers from severe bouts of depression and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when he was 35. On four occasions the depression has been so bad that he has been admitted to hospital.

He said: "My business partners thought I was lazy rather than ill, and one day they told me to go. I looked for work but was seen as a liability by some and others thought I couldn't be a doctor because I have mental health problems.

"But now I'm back to having a successful career, I'm proud to say I proved them completely wrong. I work with a business partner who is flexible about my illness - as I am about her childcare - at a surgery nearby and I've written three books since being diagnosed.

"The Back to Work Campaign is important to help show there is life beyond mental illness and there is support available."