Dr Sabeel Saleem – BMBS Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery graduate

Year of graduation: 2007

Current employer: Self-employed as GP Partner

Current job title: GP Principal/GP Partner

Current location: Dunoon

"Our medical school was unique, the training is very focused, therefore I was well prepared to move on after my training."

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

I trained at Derriford Hospital for my first two years, then embarked on surgical training with Northwest Deanery. I rotated through Blackpool, Preston and Blackburn doing ENT and plastic surgery. At the end of the training, I changed my mind, and wanted to become a GP, mainly due to better work life balance and due to the ability of having a portfolio career. Me and my wife went on a holiday to Loch Lomond in Scotland, we fell in love with rural, breathtakingly beautiful Scotland. I then decided to become a rural GP in Scotland. My first post was in Orkney, far north of Scotland, where I managed a rural hospital’s medical and surgical admissions, covering the wards. I then spent my training in Beauly, Inverness and Elgin, finally passing the MRCGP in 2014.

I was a salaried GP in Elgin, but I was keen on partnership. I took over the partnership in lovely Dunoon, set in gorgeous Argyllshire. I am a very active GP, I am passionate about out of hours care, so still do most of the weekend covering out of hours, on top of my four days a week partnership working. I am involved in the local medical committee for the Cowal Peninsula, and I am the First 5 Lead for the RCGP North Faculty, where I actively and passionately promote General Practice and make sure our voice is heard at the higher levels. I became the external examiner for University of Liverpool medical school, however, due to the distance, I am currently looking to enrol with University of Glasgow medical faculty.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I wanted to be a ENT surgeon when I started my medical career but after an epiphany, I changed my career to GP and I never looked back!

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult situation for me, after all these years, was breaking bad news to my patients. I went to an amazing medical school, I was trained by the best, trained well in communication skills, patient skills, but still it hits me hard, every time I break the bad news. It has been more difficult when I knew the entire family. I also find it difficult to make decision about the end life of patients, whom I do not know before, while I am doing out of hours.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I was accompanying a patient from Orkney in a small plane to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and we flew through a mini storm! It was scary but fun as I thought I was riding on a roller coaster, lot of adrenaline rush!

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I wish I could have decided on GP training earlier on, so that I would have stayed in the West Country. However, now I am living in a lovely place in Scotland, I do not have any regrets.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I came to Peninsula Medical School as a mature student. It was a hard work but it really paid off. I would advise anyone who wants to do medicine, to commit to their dream, work hard, stick at it. To the medical student, I will advise to be open about their career choice. I would ask them to do GP rotation and become one! My surgery is like “box of chocolates”, there is no dull moment!

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Our medical school was unique, the training is very focused, therefore I was well prepared to move on after my training.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Getting married to my wife!

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes, via Facebook. Amazing stuff!!

Tell us about your time in Plymouth

Plymouth is an amazing city. It is a vibrant student city, and the University has grown massively, gaining recognition in the world. I liked the building, the gym and the library. The welfare of the students was very good, I found the staff very caring and supportive. I had an amazing time at the medical school, if I had another chance, I would do it again!!

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Enjoy the studies. Work hard, party hard, but make Plymouth University proud!