TWL

Dr Mohammad Habeeb

Dr Mohammad Habeeb was born and grew up in Egypt, before moving to Wales to further his career in 2017. Mohammad is currently working as a Psychiatry Trainee in after spending several years working as a GP in West Wales. 

He states:  

Having grown up, lived and studied in Egypt for most of my life, it was a big decision to leave everything I have known behind and come to Wales. I initially chose to come to Wales following a glowing recommendation from a friend. But the more I looked into it, the better the option appeared to be, as I was primarily looking for a new location that could provide better training, and Wales filled that role perfectly.  

Before I moved to Wales, I didn’t know much about the country, apart from it being very green. It’s quite the opposite to Egypt in a lot of ways as you would imagine, so a lot less sunshine and lots more rain. But I’m fortunate as I actually quite like the rain and a more temperate climate allows me to participate in a lot more activities outside, which I really enjoy.  

While there are lots of people within my family that have a career in the medical profession, I am the first person in my family to train to become a psychiatrist. I started my medical education by attending medical school in Egypt, graduating in 2014 and spending the first few years of my career working as a General Practice doctor in Egypt, before moving to Wales in 2017. 

I started work in West Wales as a clinical fellow in the emergency department in Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, with the Hywel Dda University Health Board. I then moved to Swansea in South Wales to undertake GP training. I have also completed an Academic Fellowship and was the clinical lead in Swansea University Medical School for Inter-Professional Education. However, I felt the need to explore my options and to try something different, so I started looking at different general practices throughout Wales. I focused on West Wales mostly, as it was an area of Wales that I particularly enjoyed. During these periods working as a GP, I also undertook a lot of out of hours GP work. 

When working as a GP I focused on the mental health of my patients, and I knew that I really wanted to make more of a difference for this cohort of patients. This helped me make the decision to train to become a psychiatrist. It was a difficult decision to make as I had to start the process of beginning my training again to achieve my goal.  

I decided to focus on psychiatry as I felt I wanted to give more time and attention to patients when discussing their mental health. I like the idea that when treating a patient with mental health needs, we can treat the issues as a team, bringing in people from different backgrounds, such as social workers, OT, or nurses. Being part of a dedicated team working towards the same goal is incredibly rewarding as we are all focused on helping patients to address the cause of the problem and hopefully provide the best treatment possible.  

My current post is with Community Mental Health Team, in Swn Y Gwynt resource centre located in Ammanford, with Hywel Dda University Health Board, where I really enjoy working with such a great team. I find great personal and professional satisfaction working with patients in Wales, as I find people here are a lot more forthcoming with what their problems actually are regarding mental health. I believe that this is because there is less stigma regarding mental health in Wales and the UK compared to other countries, where people are still afraid to say “my mental health is not in great shape, and I’m struggling.”  

I have loved my time in Wales and I appreciate how chatty and friendly the people are. It’s an incredibly welcoming place to live and I have always been made to feel right at home. It helps that I like the rain also!  

Currently I live in Swansea, which is Wales’ second largest city. It’s perfect for me as its close to the countryside and I love going out for hiking and enjoying the Welsh mountains or cycling on the many cycling routes in the area. Being so close to the city is great also, should I want to go shopping or go out for a meal with my wife. One of the main reasons why I have chosen to stay in Wales is that living here helps with the cost of living also, as it is much more manageable compared to places like London.  

I have had such amazing support since coming to Wales - including my wife, my family in Egypt, my A&E consultants, GP training supervisors and colleagues. They have all helped to make it as easy as possible to achieve the requirements needed in my training. The Welsh Government even paid for my Royal College exams, which helped save me some money, and reduced a lot of stress.  

If I was to give anyone any advice on living and working in Wales, I would say to remember that the beginnings are always the hardest part. Don’t rush things and remember that the people here will do their best to make you feel welcome and you will be given all the support to bring you up to speed professionally.  

In the future, I hope to apply for Consultant Psychiatrist jobs and further my career alongside my other long-term goals – while personally, I would like to expand my family and hopefully bring my parents over from Egypt to visit us in Wales.  

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