Allie Anderson speaks to Dr Miguel Montero about his passion for lasers and winning the Med-fx Award for Best Clinic North England at the Aesthetics Awards 2017
Hailing from Almeria in the south of Spain, Dr Miguel Montero came to the UK in 1994 to follow a career in trauma surgery, having become interested in the specialism during a stint in the Spanish Army. “I was a Second Lieutenant in the medical corps and that got me into trauma surgery,” he explains. When Dr Montero arrived, he worked in a surgical trainee capacity for East Lancashire NHS Trust until 2000.
From then he undertook GP training until 2003, before becoming a full-time partner at a GP surgery. “My dad was a GP, so I followed in his footsteps. After finishing in the army, I had a brief spell working with my dad in his clinic, and he had a soft, low-level laser, which he used to treat sports injuries,” explains Dr Montero, adding, “That’s what got me really interested inlasers,sowhenIbecameaGPIhada little more control over my career path and in time, I decided to pursue that interest.”
He undertook his first qualification in lasers and lights in 2007, and the following year Dr Montero and his wife, Gill, established Discover Laser Medical Aesthetic Clinic in their hometown of Burnley. Dr Montero admits that, in hindsight, it wasn’t a great time to change careers and start up a new business – just a few months after opening the clinic’s doors, the Monteros found themselves on the precipice of the recession. To keep afloat, he continued to practice as a GP during the week and treated patients at Discover Laser in the evenings and at weekends. “The clinic grew very slowly because I couldn’t dedicate the resources to it that it needed, and because Burnley isn’t the most a affluent area my patients couldn’t dedicate resources to having treatment either,” he recalls. “It was a very intense period of my life; I had no life other than work.”
Very gradually, however, his hard work began to pay off; the business stayed afloat and became more profitable year-on-year until eventually, Dr Montero realised that to make Discover Laser the success it had the potential to be, he would need to make a huge sacrifice. “In 2015, I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life – to quit as a GP and focus on aesthetics full time,” he says. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength.
“The most rewarding cases are when you can do something using aesthetics to help patients move on with their lives”
At the very heart of what Dr Montero does – and the ethos behind setting up Discover Laser – is the use of aesthetics in a medical context to help patients to boost their wellbeing and confidence. “It’s important not to forget that we are doctors,” says Dr Montero. “The most rewarding cases are when you can do something using aesthetics to help patients move on with their lives.” It was this passion for combining medical treatment with aesthetic techniques – and having achieved safe, effective results for more than 5,000 patients – that struck a chord with judges at the 2017 Aesthetics Awards and led to Dr Montero and his team winning the Med-fx Award for Best Clinic North England.
“It was a great achievement not just for me, but for the whole team,” Dr Montero says. “It reflects the quality of the team we have and all the hard work everyone puts in. It’s really important that the years of training and improvement are recognised. We never settle and always strive to get better and that’s reflected in an award like this.”
Indeed, education and continual professional development are a key part of Dr Montero’s success. Just two months after the Aesthetics Awards win he graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a Master’s degree in non-surgical facial aesthetics, which he believes cemented his reputation and further endorsed his clinic’s position as the very best in the north of England. “I’d like to think our commitment to training also impressed the judges,” Dr Montero adds. “I'm very passionate about raising standards and I hope that was reflected in the entry.”
His advice for this year’s entrants is simple: “Be truthful. What you write in your entry must honestly reflect the quality of services you offer.” He also credits his award entry with having an outsider’s view; the clinic’s marketing professional had input into the application and gave valuable insight over how to make the clinic’s strengths shine through. “That was really useful to give us perspective that you sometimes lose when you are too involved with the business,” Dr Montero adds. “So I would advise people to ask family, friends or colleagues who know the business well for their input on some of the questions, because that can help to give context and also to frame the judges' view of your business.”
’Patients before profits’. We always try to offer the best for our patients and they will always come first. This is something we live by and drill into our colleagues in our clinic.
I’ve had many exceptional colleagues who have given me very good advice. The main thing I’ve learned is to be upfront and honest with patients and don’t hide away from difficult discussions. If you keep trying to bury things, they will always come back to haunt you.
To start a business and find out there are no regulations over what anyone can do can be a minefield. I would urge people to keep training, keep attending conferences, and be aware of your personal limitations to keep patient safety at the fore of what you do.