“Starting out in a medical career when I did, there was nobody who looked like me until I reached a more senior level. At the beginning of my career, I was advised by a GP to change my name to a more English sounding one to increase the chances of my applications being accepted.
“At the time, the Austrian actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was hugely successful despite having a foreign-sounding surname and not speaking English as a first language. I thought that if he could become a worldwide megastar without changing his name, I would be able to get to where I wanted to be without doing so too.
“As a Junior Doctor in the 1980s, the consultants could make or break someone’s career, so it was easy to become disillusioned. Fortunately, nowadays a career in Medicine is a lot more meritocratic than in the past.
I am a father of two and, as a parent, you want things to be better for your children than it was for you - for the next generation not to doubt themselves. I now mentor young Black students who want to get into medical school to inspire and encourage them, to show them that it’s possible.
“If I was 16 again, I would make exactly the same career choices, I wouldn’t change anything about the experiences I’ve had. St George’s is a very friendly, welcoming environment and a place where I made lifelong friends. Studying there was also turning point for me because it’s when I realised I wanted to go into Surgery rather than Medicine.
“I’ve worked as a consultant specialising in prostate cancer for almost 25 years. I’m the urology lead at Newham University Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust and ex co-chairman of the Department of Health's Prostate Cancer Advisory Group. I also received an MBE for services to the NHS in 2013.
“I sit on a number of government advisory bodies, including the bowel screening committee. Alongside these roles and running my own practice, I’m Chairman of Cancer Black Care, a charity set up within the black and minority ethnic community.
“The first time I applied for a position in A&E, I wasn’t successful despite having a good CV and saw no reason why I shouldn’t get in. My experiences made me more determined to persist and burnish my CV, so that it was more difficult not to be appointed. My advice to those at the start of their career path is to keep going, it’s worth it.”