Domhnall MacAuley: Celebrating clinical teaching in Wales

Domhnall MacauleyWe don’t celebrate success enough in medicine. We sometimes mutter, grumble, and gripe, but we seldom congratulate our friends and colleagues on their success. What a pleasure therefore to attend the Welsh Clinical Teacher of the Year Awards in the beautiful Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. A gala evening of recognition for those who inspire a generation. Most awards are static, contemporary, or retrospective, but while those nominated enjoyed their moment of recognition, their teaching lasts a lifetime—influencing doctors and helping patient care for years to come.

A success built on partnership. The awards had the joint support of BMA Cymru Wales and BMJ Learning, the medical schools of Cardiff and Swansea, and the postgraduate deanery. Collaboration and cooperation between medical schools is all too rare, but these two universities are already working together and the future looks bright. In the common language of teaching, there was no differentiation between specialities, professions, medical background, or training. Clinicians were the largest group, but there was recognition of the part played by, among others, nursing colleagues, midwives, anatomists. And, demonstrating partnership at national level there was support from David Sissling, Chief Executive Wales, Ruth Hussey CMO Wales, and Chris Jones chair of Cwm Taf Health Board.

Derek Gallen, Postgraduate Dean for Wales, received the lifetime achievement award for his career long contribution to postgraduate education, and Steve Backhouse an ENT consultant won Clinical Teacher of the Year. I was especially impressed by the influence of my general practice colleagues in Welsh university education. John Bligh, Dean of Medical Education in Cardiff who, as editor in chief of Medical Education and founding editor in chief of The Clinical Teacher helped direct scholarly development for a generation and, newly minted professor Kamila Hawthorne, who had just rushed directly from surgery to the auditorium. For me it was a special moment to hear Tony Calland, a general practitioner from the Wye valley, reflect on John Berger’s A fortunate man. A defining book in general practice education describing the work of a family doctor—in the very practice that Tony spent his career.

A wonderful evening to inspire a generation and, on the dawn of a new day, a jog alongside the river Taff on a beautiful spring morning.

Domhnall MacAuley is primary care editor, BMJ.