2 anaesthetic trainees at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust have been awarded a prestigious gold medal after finishing top of the class in an international final exam.
Each year the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCA) gives out the Magill Medal for the highest score in the country in the FRCA exam, taken by over 300 people from the UK and overseas.
In 2020 this exam was cancelled due to COVID so this time the college have decided to give out 2 medals, and these medals have been won by James Wright and Leonie Murphy, who are both ST4 anaesthetic trainees.
Paul Smith, a college tutor for anaesthetics at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, said: “I don’t believe this has ever happened before. It is usually just the one medal but this time they have awarded 2 and for our trainees to come first and second is truly impressive and a real boost for our department and our trust in these difficult times.
“Not only did these trainees work very hard, it also shows that we have been able to maintain high quality clinical training despite the circumstances. It’s great news and a real coup for everyone.”
Leonie was delighted to have won the Magill. She said: “I’m thrilled, and slightly amazed, to have won this award. It wasn’t easy to find time for revision with 2 young children and I am very grateful for the support of the anaesthetic department and my family.
“The department have been hugely supportive of us as trainees during the pandemic. The consultants have taken on many extra night shifts in order to avoid us losing out on training opportunities and have always been willing to listen to any trainee concerns and act on these promptly. The local anaesthetic teaching programme is also excellent and we are very much supported during our exam revision.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my training in Sussex and would be delighted to get a consultant job here at some point in the future.”
James, who is in his fourth year at the Trust, added: “This is a true testament to the people that work here that despite everything they’ve had to deal with they still have the motivation and desire to help the trainees coming through, for which I am very grateful!
“It is a notoriously difficult set of exams and initially I was just relieved to have passed. Then when I found out that I had won the award for the top marks I was very surprised but delighted. It is also really nice, that I can jointly share the award with Leonie, Its very unusual to have two people in the same trust win it.”
Dr Rob Haigh, Medical Director, added: “It is really excellent news and very many congratulations go to Leonie and James. It is an absolutely outstanding achievement. Not only is it a great personal success, the award also spotlights the training programme and experience at UHSussex in the best possible way.”