Managing multiple clinics and media commitments in lockdown, while being a full-time dad
My mornings start early…
I typically get up around 4:30am to join video conference calls with my team in Dubai. We opened the clinic in 2018 after I travelled to the country to see my partner, who was working there at the time. I learnt more about Dubai’s aesthetic market, which is fascinating and different to the UK, with treatments for dark tear troughs being very popular. I now spend a week every quarter seeing patients there.
With COVID-19, I’m managing two time lapses of how the situation is developing in both Dubai and the UK. Then, about 6:30am my 18-month-old son Roman wakes. I sort breakfast and get him ready for the day, before making a start on my emails. One of my main focuses is speaking to the patients who were booked for treatment as part of the Esho Initiative. I set this up to offer corrective treatment free of charge to those who have congenital deformities, severe scarring or disfigurement from a life-changing incident. At the moment, some of these patients are particularly vulnerable as treatment has had to be put on hold.
By 8am, it’s time for media calls. For example, after speaking to Aesthetics today, I have a call with my literacy agent to discuss the book I’m writing. Then it’s time to catch up with the TV producers; I’m currently the resident aesthetic doctor in the Channel 4 show Body Fixers, which I love, and we’re working on a spin-off show that follows me around my clinics. We’d just started filming before lockdown was enforced, so we’re currently trying to figure out if it’s possible to maintain clinical standards, social distancing and filming when we reopen!
Next up will be a call with my podcast hosts; three doctors who also work in the media. We launched Steths, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll to decipher fact from fiction when it comes to health, discuss the latest medical advancements and aim to entertain listeners with stories from our work.
A lot of work goes into planning topics, writing draft scripts and, of course, juggling everyone’s time to come together. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far!
Being in the public eye means there is an expectation on you to ‘do good’ and you can be open to scrutiny. I’ve never seen this as a challenge as I’ve had that goal throughout my life. I grew up in a deprived area of North London and my parents, who moved to the UK from Nigeria, sacrificed a lot to help me get to where I am today.
Being a black person from an area where there were little career prospects made me recognise that it’s important not to waste any opportunities that come my way. I’m proud that I can use my media platforms to promote safe aesthetic practice and highlight the good work that is being done by many medically-qualified clinicians in the specialty.
Afternoons consist of…
Virtual consultations! I was lucky when lockdown hit as I am very used to doing virtual consults with my patients in Dubai, so I already had a system in place. Now I’m working with my UK clinic teams to get everything ready for reopening and using this time to figure out ways to improve processes and patient experiences.
Normally, I spend most of my time working from my London clinics in Harley Street and Wimbledon, with a long weekend in Newcastle once month, as well as of course my quarterly Dubai visits. I was doing a lot more travelling before my son was born, but when he came along I knew I needed to scale back as being a hands-on dad is really important to me.
Thankfully, I have a great team who could support with this. Clinic life for me involves seeing a lot of complications. I used to see one every three to four months, but now they make up a third of my list every day. Of course a lot of that comes from being known for corrective work through my media presence, however I believe that the growth of the industry and increasing regulation problems also have a big impact.
In terms of preventing complications, I always say to practitioners don’t think you won’t experience them – you will. Just ensure you’re not taking any shortcuts with the treatments you offer; don’t compromise on the quality of products you use or the environment you practice in. It’s also helpful to be part of a peer group. Some practitioners want to hide away from complications they have experienced in fear of judgement from peers, however it’s important to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes, get the correct help and share what you’ve learnt in a safe environment.
My evenings are spent…
Checking the Government’s daily updates to see what applies to the clinics, before taking Roman for a walk and chilling out with my partner to find out how her day has been. She’s a director at Price Waterhouse Cooper so is also very busy and passionate about her work – I love that about her and am proud of how we manage to integrate our lives, especially with a toddler!
If I wasn’t a doctor…
I’d be a graphic designer! I’ve always loved art and design but my traditional Nigerian dad only had five careers in mind for me – medicine, dentistry, law, accounting or engineering. I’m glad I listened to him though – he saw my potential and your parents always know you best!
My hobby outside of medicine is…
Property investment and renovation. I love the creative aspect of how you transform a home – one of my favourite TV programmes is The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes!
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