Apprentice winner Leah’s surgery plan questioned

Sticking the knife in: Surgeons have questioned whether Totton can administer surgery procedures. Picture: PA
Sticking the knife in: Surgeons have questioned whether Totton can administer surgery procedures. Picture: PA
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Medical experts have hit out at BBC’s The Apprentice after Lord Sugar chose to invest in Dr Leah Totton’s cosmetic procedures business.

The 25-year-old Northern Irish doctor, who works in London, was named winner of the ninth series of the show on Wednesday and bagged £250,000 to plump up her business finances.

Totton triumphed over cake shop boss Luisa Zissman to secure Lord Sugar as her new business partner - despite his initial concerns about the ethics of her business.

But professional bodies for plastic surgery and dermatology have today questioned Totton’s ability to set up and run a chain of outlets offering facial treatments.

Rajiv Grover, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “What this debate needs is a strong injection of common sense - if Dr Leah Totton were training to be a GP she would not be able to work unsupervised for another four years after qualifying.

“Yet in the private sector she is setting herself up to train others.”

Dr Tamara Griffiths, dermatology representative on the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) which has been developing EU-wide standards for cosmetic surgery, also questioned Totton’s level of experience.

She said: “Dr Totton is a very junior doctor and her claim to be an expert in the field of cosmetic procedures may not measure up to the review by the European Committee for Standardisation, where international consensus has been reached regarding the imperative of adequate and accredited training.”

Totton plans to offer anti-ageing skin treatments including chemical peels and dermal fillers at a chain of clinics where she hopes to raise the standards of the beauty industry with her medical credentials.

The brand name has changed from NIKS to Dr Leah at Lord Sugar’s request and Totton is continuing with a masters degree as well as planning to keep her hand in clinical work as a locum.

Despite worries about her entering the tough process, the doctor said her family were “delighted” at her win, saying: “I’m the first person in my family to have even gone to university so it’s such a massive achievement for the whole family.”

Both Lord Sugar and Totton were unavailable for comment this evening.