Apprentice winner Leah Totton lacks 'expertise'
Irish doctor wins TV contest with Botox plan, but medical experts say she needs more training
IRISH doctor Leah Totton may have won over Alan Sugar with her proposal for a chain of Botox clinics, but media pundits and sections of the medical profession appear less convinced.
Just hours after 25-year-old Totton emerged as the winner of BBC 1's The Apprentice last night, questions were being asked about her expertise and motives for specialising in anti-ageing treatments such as Botox.
Totton, who was "hired" by Sugar after pitching her business plan to a panel of 100 experts, works as a doctor in the NHS and has trained in cosmetic medicine privately for two years, The Sun reports. But consultant plastic surgeon Nigel Mercer, a former chairman of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, told the Daily Mail she lacked the requisite medical skills to carry out some of the procedures that will be offered by her Dr Leah clinics.
"At her level of training, she will have a basic knowledge of immunology and some knowledge of anatomy," Mercer told the paper. "She may have done a few weeks' training in aesthetic medicine, but that is simply not enough. It may not be quite as dangerous as putting a hairdresser in charge of cosmetic surgery, but it is still putting patients at risk."
Another consultant plastic surgeon, Kevin Hancock, told the Sun that many professionals in the sector "train for eight or nine years" before opening a private clinic. He said Totton's focus on anti-ageing treatments was "obviously a commercial decision."
Totton clinched victory last night after Luisa Zissman – the 25-year-old who earned a reputation as the series' "tough cookie" – broke down in tears after failing to answer a question about the potential profits of her wholesale baking business. The show of emotion earned Zissman plenty of fans, but Totton's rather frosty public persona has not made her a popular winner.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Judith Woods said the doctor's "Disney cascade of candyfloss hair and the improbably huge, cornflower-blue eyes" made her look like "a bit of a princess".
But Totton appears so "cold", says Woods, she makes "the White Witch look like Lorraine Kelly".
During the 11 episodes of The Apprentice, Totton "displayed the quickfire responses and interpersonal skills of a Speaking Clock," writes Woods. "Seriously, you could boil an egg in the time it took her to blink." ·