Medicine is definitely my vocation. I am blessed to be given such a wonderful job that makes me feel happy and rewarded every day. It is the biggest honour to have people trust me with details of their lives and it’s not something I ever take lightly. This makes me want to try my hardest and do the best I possibly can for each individual.
Private practice enables me to spend time with clients in an unhurried way. Moreover, private practice allows me access to the best possible resources in a timely fashion.
I humbly say, I have ‘a little bit of medical knowledge and a lot of common sense’ and know when to ask for specialist support. I aim to be approachable and available. I relate to people no matter who there are, what they do and where they come from. I love individuality and am interested in not only physical health but also in mental and social health.
I grew up in East London to Pakistani immigrant parents who were schoolteachers. Working hard was instilled in me. Whilst doing my O levels (GCSEs now) at the local comprehensive school I had a session with a career’s advisor. I said I wanted to read medicine and she smirked. Difficult to forget but, in her experience, she said all the girls wanted to read medicine and so essentially, I should forget it!
Encouraged by my late father, I did not forget it. May he rest peacefully, he is the wisest man I have known. Ironically, he named his daughter Sophia, the meaning of which is “wisdom”.
I went to Leicester Medical School where I graduated with a Distinction in finals. With post graduate training I was drawn back to London teaching hospitals. I started pursuing a path in Intensive Care Medicine.
Intensive Care was going to be a difficult career path to juggle with young children. I went to Anaesthetics. Although enjoying many parts of it, I missed the conscious patient contact and spending long hours in theatre was not a career for me. My father and I discussed General Practice. It has always been the role of a doctor to take a history, make a diagnosis and provide care. This was the perfect role for me.
After many hospital jobs in sub-specialities, I trained in NHS general practice, became an NHS GP and obtained Membership to The Royal College of General Practitioners. For me, it was invaluable training. However, I felt unable to provide the gold standard level of care I wished to. I would frequently run late as 10 minutes is rarely long enough for a consultation.
I transitioned to private general practice. I vividly remember a Professor of Ophthalmology at Moorfields with a significant private practice speaking to me in those early days. He engaged me with the so called four ‘A’s of private practice:
He insisted this was the order, but after many years in private practice I am not so sure!
I spent 20 years in a successful partnership on Wimpole Street. In these 20 years, I have been fortunate enough to interact with so many interesting people from every imaginable walk of life. Arguably, these are the people that have inspired much of my work ethic. Moreover, they have taught me the importance of determination, dedication and discipline. I have learnt that illness does not take a standard 9-5 route and I would like to dedicate my time to the people who entrust me.