"There are a lot of flawed beliefs on the topic of pain that occupy the present healthcare system..."

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Peter Drucker

I became the clinical lead of the department of pain medicine in my hospital back in 2015 due to a series of changes in staffing that took place within a very short time. I had been a senior consultant for about five years, however I realised that I did not possess the sufficient knowledge of management and leadership that is required to lead a department and do the right things for the patient and for your team.

Some doctors do naturally transition to become good leaders. It is often assumed that because one is a medical doctor and becomes a consultant, they would automatically become good leaders. However, the NHS of today and for that matter even within healthcare in general, it is not enough anymore to know the clinical aspects of case management. Healthcare is also a business, as many decisions are often made based on funding and effectiveness criteria. It then becomes very important for health care to be provided at the highest quality for the best value. This concept of value-based healthcare is becoming very popular across the world, as healthcare is often thought to be unsustainable with the present model of treatment.

While leading the department from 2016, I realised that collaboration and networking with empathy were going to be key to building a successful team department, but realisation alone is not enough. So, when my organisation (RBFT) tied up with the Henley Business School at the University of Reading to offer a management degree, I decided to take it up.

It wasn’t easy, but I saw it as an opportunity to consolidate the business aspects of healthcare, and to actually understand the language that is often spoken by management professionals in any industry. However, I ended up not only receiving the Honours Degree in Applied Management, I also ended up undergoing a transformation in my personal and professional spheres. Understanding the difference between management and leadership allowed me to define and be clearer about my leadership approach and fundamentally seek to do the right thing and set a vision for myself and for my team that aligned with my organisations objectives as well.

The ability to be emotionally intelligent and maintaining a sense of curiosity and growth mindset help me to improve my communication skills very quickly.

Since 2018, I have helped:

  1. Support and develop my team through the pandemic
  2. Build and successfully pitch business cases for more staff and digital resources for the patients and my service
  3. Provide a perfect elevator pitch and get commissioned by a national ‘Big 5’ publisher to write a book on pain management, which was released in March 2021. “The Pain Free Mindset” published by Vermillion – Imprint of Penguin.
  4. Collaborate with national leaders and co-authored a position paper that was submitted to the House of Lords, lobbying for the establishment of clinics dedicated to the care of Longcovid patients. This was successful with the release of £10 million for setting up such clinics in November 2020. 
  5. Networked with various stakeholders in my organisation and local county. I have led on the establishment of the Berkshire Longcovid Integrated Service (BLIS) with both clinical and operational elements in place within four weeks of the national announcement in December 2020.
  6. Actively continued to be in research, and part of the local research network, with more than £100,000 of funding secured for a variety of clinical studies.


My supervisors at my Business School recognised the work around Longcovid and Pandemic recovery and nominated me for the Award of Excellence with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and I was awarded the SE Regional Apprentice of the Year 2020.


I was then shortlisted and was awarded the National Apprentice in November 2021. Suffice to say that this was an epitome of achievement for me personally, to be recognised and honoured thus out of a strong national field of over 30,000 apprentices.

Read more: CMI Article


CMI also nominated me to the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) Learner of the Year Award 2021. This is the umbrella body for all the endpoint assessment and awarding organisations in the UK- the FAB Awards recognises the contributions made by awarding organisations and employees to education and skills in the UK over the past year. I won the Learner of the Year Award at this ceremony.

Read more: RDG.Today Article

This model of apprenticeship exposed me to the theory of modern management and leadership, and also to apply it contemporaneously within my workplace. There was incredible support from my colleagues at my workplace to implement my learnings. My batchmates from the university ensured that these last 3 years, while being tough, were also the most fun learning experience I have had since medical school. It has given me the joy of lifelong learning, reading and critical appraisal, not just of the scientific literature in my sphere of specialisation, but also in other industries and broadly understanding our social and planetary impact as well.