2022 Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT) Silver Scalpel Award Winner British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) Chair Peter Brennan on hearing the announcement said he was “overwhelmed and totally blown away to be awarded this most prestigious accolade”. He broke down in tears in front of over 300 trainees and peers.
Consultant OMFS Manjit Dhillon won the coveted Silver Scalpel Award in 2021, a first for the OMFS Specialty in its 22-year history. It was presented to her in her adopted home town of Aberdeen, where the ASiT 2022 conference was held. She admitted “it is great that the award has stayed in OMFS a second year running.
“Winning the Silver Scalpel Award has been morale-boosting and encouraging for the whole Maxillofacial team and the trainees here in Aberdeen,” she explained. “It has placed a central focus on training within our department for everyone, not just the surgeons, but also for our nursing and allied health professional colleagues. We are all learners and teachers at the same time. The award has boosted the team’s enthusiasm, curiosity and thirst for learning and teaching each other.
“It was amazing to be a part of the ASiT 2022 Conference in Aberdeen. It made me especially proud to witness the future of surgery being so inclusive, diverse and welcoming. I am very inspired by the courage of the new generation of surgeons, tackling head-on many of the challenges in surgical culture we continue to face. But I believe the future of surgery is brighter than ever.”
On winning the award, Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital-based Consultant OMFS specialising in head and neck oncology, Peter Brennan added: “I was totally overwhelmed to be honest. I did not think I would have a chance as there were some brilliant trainers in different surgical specialities who had got to the final five. I felt humbled to get to the final, let alone win this award. I also thought that OMFS could not win two years running.”
Peter, an elected Council Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of England, is internationally renowned for his extensive work on human factors and patient safety. He promotes the importance of lowering authority gradients and empowering all team members, which benefits both patient safety and morale. His work has not only improved trainee experience in the operating theatre, but has improved the delivery of the Membership of the RCS exam (MRCS), taken by more than 6,000 doctors every year around the world. Peter champions training and education at every opportunity, and is Editor of seven major textbooks, including Gray’s Surgical Anatomy.
BAOMS President Austen Smith was delighted that the specialty had won the award for a second year: “Winning the ASiT Silver Scalpel award a second year in a row shows how committed as a specialty we are to be the best trainers we can be. We know how important it is to support our trainees throughout their journey to become an excellent surgeon and a brilliant OMFS.
“I am passionate about supporting OMFS trainees and attracting even more surgeons into the specialty. Our junior colleagues hold key roles in hospital OMFS departments across the UK, at an early stage in their careers, and ensuring that we listen, hear concerns, teach and enthuse will make the difference and support them throughout their working lives.”