Doctor Muhammad Aslam (44) took on the role of Consultant Pathologist and Clinical Lead at a North Wales hospital because he was looking for new challenges and opportunities. With the support of his health board he’s not only transformed his department but also helped to modernise global pathology reporting. He explains:
“When I started my medical training in 1995 I decided to specialise in pathology because I loved the colours, the microscopy, and the combination of art and science fascinated me. I moved to the UK from Pakistan in 2001 and finished my training in Merseyside where I worked in several hospitals before relocating to East Lancashire with my family 10 years ago. We were happy living in Blackburn but I needed a new challenge so relocated to North Wales.
“My management team have been extremely supportive of the projects I’ve introduced and we’ve seen great changes and improvements in the department as a result. My health board are also supporting me whilst I study for an MBA Healthcare Executive, allowing me to take time off for lectures and assignments. I really enjoy teaching and mentoring and this is something I would like to do more of in the future. Once I complete my MBA there may be opportunities to lecture at a business school, and I would like to continue progressing in the NHS as a clinical leader. My qualification will be of great benefit to me and the organisation, and I just wouldn’t have been able to do it without the encouragement of the health board and career progression opportunities offered to me here.
“I’ve worked in several different hospitals in the North West of England but my current hospital in Wales has been the most supportive and collaborative. Across Wales there are plenty of opportunities to work with other health boards on joint projects and funding for trials which could find breakthroughs for illnesses like cancer. Wales is a great place to work, especially for doctors who want to be more involved in research and help to shape the future of healthcare.
“Our pathology department is quite specialised and niche in some ways – we take pride in being able to offer more. We’ve pioneered a leading study which revolutionises pathology result recording, replacing traditional glass slides with digital images. It’s the first time that this new whole slide imaging technology has been trialled across Wales where 22 pathologists and six health boards were involved. This type of a project is unheard of in the rest of the UK and possibly the world. It will improve services for doctors, health boards and patients if this new way of reporting is adopted sector-wide as a result.
“I’d definitely recommend Wales to other doctors as a fantastic place to work and live. There is very beautiful scenery in North Wales particularly, and you can have a very wonderful life here. At the weekends my wife and I take our three sons for walks and bike rides, or we just go sightseeing because the views are fantastic. It’s wonderful for families here, there are lots of opportunities. The family working lifestyle is good too. I have given my team flexibility and some of them work from home on a laptop which they can to fit in with childcare commitments. It’s important to maintain a work life balance, and excellent that the health board and NHS in Wales provides you with the tools to do this.”