TPD of the Year 2017 – Mr Alastair Murray (SE of Scotland)

BOTA are pleased to announce the 2017 TPD of the year as Mr Alastair Murray (South East of Scotland). Here are some of the feedback from his trainees:

Excellent TPDs ensure that trainees have equal access to high quality training. Describe how this TPD ensures that the rotation delivers high quality training.

During his tenure he has overseen a revamp in our regional teaching and has established a new simulation teaching programme for the junior STs on our run-through programme to ensure teaching is tailored to year of training. With regards to rotations, he encourages trainees to actively engage with the process and he seeks out their preferences, as well as considering their training needs. He actively looks to establish if placements are going well with each of his trainees, demonstrating his interested and attentive nature. When placements are reported to be underperforming, he gets involved at the earliest opportunity to ascertain why this is the case and make adjustments wherever possible. He is receptive to discussions regarding placements if a trainee feels their allocation is not best suited to them. Our TPD strives to ensure that each trainee has a fair and balanced training experience.

Excellent TPDs encourage communication from their trainees and ensure there is an open channel of communication. Describe how this TPD encourages trainees to present ideas or raise concerns within their region.

Right from the outset our TPD made it clear to trainees that he had an open door policy and was happy to hear from trainees by any means, be it in person, email, text or phone call. He also designates a period of time in the week that trainees can attend his office to discuss any issues they feel may be impacting their training and this time is well publicised amongst the trainees. He responds to concerns raised in a timely manner. Trainees report that when they felt they were having difficulties, he has been extremely supportive, easy to get hold of, kind as well as allowing them to open up about difficulties in the work place in a completely safe and non-judgemental manner. Our TPD goes further than expected in the way in which he keeps lines of communication open be it over a coffee, a text or an evening call, he always makes himself available. He is open, unassuming and maintains a neutral environment and offers constructive advice in order that trainees feel comfortable in speaking to him. He is keen to hear new ideas on how to improve training experiences and does so with enthusiasm.

Outstanding TPDs ensure that trainees pastoral needs are met as well as their professional needs. Describe how this TPD supports the pastoral needs of their trainees.

Our TPD goes above and beyond when looking after trainees. He is quiet and unassuming and has eyes and ears around the programme that mean you rarely go to him with something he is unaware of. He recognises when a trainee is struggling and will make himself available to offer support to them. He tailors his method of support to the trainee and the situation, offering practical and emotional support, be it in a more formal location such as his office or a conversation over coffee. He goes out of his way to relieve work pressures or on-call commitments in a discreet manner and with minimal fuss. He offers a safety net without encroaching on privacy. Trainees’ need someone who they can ‘hand on heart’ trusts training can be long and arduous and personal circumstances can arise that make training difficult. Having that figure in the background who you know is a confidant and a source of encouragement is invaluable. He really is the BFG!

Exceptional TPDs set the tone for behaviour in their region. Describe how this TPD is exemplar in their professional conduct and how they deal with bullying, harassment and discrimination

Our TPD leads by example and sets a personal standard for his trainees to follow. He is kind, considerate, approachable, polite, courteous and thoughtful be it when he is speaking to trainees, colleagues, members of staff, patients or their relatives. Our TPD has made it very clear with regards to the line he takes on any bullying or harassment in the workplace and that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. He manages these situations in a fair and just manner and is firmly supportive of anyone suffering from it. He is a model TPD and is wholly deserved of the honourable title of the BOTA TPD Award.

What Mr Murray had to say:

“…Fairness, approachability and being the trainee’s advocate…”

“…When a trainee looses faith in you, you are on a loosing wicket…”

“… There is no substitute for face to face time…”
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