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Creating the Dr Leah clinic itself was, for me, one of the most rewarding achievements of all. We had a fantastic contractor who undertook the renovation of the premises that we acquired. I have never undertaken building works or renovation before, so I was amazed to see the change.

Take a look at these pictures:

The Dr Leah Clinic in London, before and after renovations were made 

It took some time and there was lots of dust, stress and tears (who knew builders were so emotional?) but it was definitely worth it! The new clinic is exactly how I imagined it would be, and when I go into it every day I feel happy and excited. I hope my patients will, too.

The Apprentice is what gave me the ability to realise my dream and to found Dr Leah Clinics. I have been asked the same question repeatedly since appearing on the show: "Why did you want to do The Apprentice?" I hope this blog goes some way to answering that question.

I was 23 when I qualified top of my medical school with a distinction in medicine, which remains my proudest achievement to date. I was already practising as a doctor in a busy London A&E when I applied to be on The Apprentice. With limited business experience at that point and a skill set more suited to an operating theatre than a boardroom, I didn't for one moment imagine that I would actually appear on the show and go on to win it.

My interest in aesthetics started long before I applied to be on the show. I have always been image-conscious - I am a female in her twenties, and I am not ashamed to admit that I care about how I look. Nor am I ashamed to admit that, like most women (and increasingly so men), I too feel pressure to look a certain way. I am not advocating that this societal pressure is correct, but let's not deny that it exists.

The increasing popularity of cosmetic procedures was clear to see, but it was only when a family friend had a botched facial filler procedure that I first realised the issues in the industry. I was still in medical school at the time, and this friend's bad experience was at the hands of a non-medical practitioner, who was not performing in a clinical environment. I was inquisitive by nature, and read way too much on just about everything, so I started researching the sector and was horrified to find that no law had been broken! There was NO regulation regarding where these treatments should be performed, or by whom.

I was appalled, and this fuelled my intrigue in the sector. Upon qualifying, alongside my full-time NHS work (and there is actually no formal training programme for aesthetic medicine), I began what turned out to be two-and-a-half years' training and mentorship in aesthetics. This mentorship will not doubt be life-long - learning is my passion, and I hope I never stop.

Dr Leah Totton with Lord Alan Sugar

The Apprentice itself was harder than I had anticipated. The hours were almost as bad as A&E's and the tasks were tough, but it was the filming aspect of it all that I found particularly difficult. I would love to say how much I enjoyed it all, and there definitely were parts that I loved (namely winning!), but mostly, it was work! Still, I met some wonderful people (who will be lifelong friends) and I got a fantastic business partner and a unique opportunity. So I'll never forget how lucky I am.

When I won, I was overwhelmed with excitement but also realistic about the enormity of the task I now faced. Lord Sugar was incredibly supportive and continues to be so.

As any healthcare worker reading this will know, it is a vocation, so they will also know that it broke my heart to leave my full-time NHS post. But I believe I can make a real change to this industry and create not just a chain of clinics to sell on in the future, but a business that shines a light on the issues in this industry, establishing a standard and forming a brand that will represent a safe haven for people to have cosmetic procedures.

I hope that my personal passion for this industry, my care for my patients and my dedication to excellence come across to everyone who is treated at a Dr Leah clinic.

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Dr Leah Clinic London
24 Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4TY Tel: +44(0)20 7877 5999Email: londonclinic@drleah.co.uk
Dr Leah Clinic Essex
14 York Hill Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RL Tel: +44(0)20 7877 5999Email: essexclinic@drleah.co.uk
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