Ms Juliette Murray – Deputy Medical Director for Acute Services

Ms Juliette Murray – Deputy Medical Director for Acute Services

What was it about NHS Forth Valley that encouraged you to apply for your post?

It was the combination of new challenges and the opportunity to work with a team of people who have a total ‘can do’ attitude and a really positive culture. I know that what you can achieve is always dependent on the combined skills of all the people in your team.

Tell us a little about your previous roles in the NHS and your achievements

I trained as a general surgeon with subspecialty interests in breast and paediatric surgery. I previously worked as a consultant in NHS Lanarkshire and was also  Deputy Director of Medical Education there as one of my main interests is in teaching and training. I developed a high school work experience programme to encourage and support local students to consider either a career in medicine or in other areas of the NHS workforce.

I also had a role as strategic cancer lead helping to improve cancer waiting times and performance. I worked to repatriate surgery for breast screening patients and to set up a local plastic surgical service.

My interests in service redesign and role extension led to me taking up a post with the Scottish Government as clinical lead of the Access Collaborative in 2017. @AccessCollab

What do you see as your biggest challenges?

The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a new range of challenges and has upended the way in which we work. However it has speeded up the introduction of new technology, given us permission to really practise realistic medicine and made us question each aspect of the services we provide. There are opportunities to design a significantly different model moving forwards which could provide better care for our patients.

Your foodie weakness?

Gin and chocolate…

The place you feel happiest?

Having to live away from my husband and four children during the pandemic because my two middle boys are shielding has made me appreciate that without doubt  home is where I am happiest. Sometimes it takes something like this to make you appreciate the things that we all often take for granted.

What makes you laugh – and cry?

Good stand up comedy, Chris Brookmyre novels and a constant stream of memes from my brother in law. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah are getting me through the Trump years…

Sad movies, random acts of kindness and Amazing Grace on the bagpipes always make me well up.

Your best holiday ever?

We had been due to go on a family holiday just before my eldest son David was diagnosed with lymphoma 3 years ago. I remember having to tell him he had cancer and he was so brave about everything but the tears rolled down his cheeks when he realised he would have to miss the holiday. While he was going through chemotherapy we spent lots of sleepless nights when he was septic or sore, planning all the details of a trip to Barcelona with friends and a big family break with his 16 cousins. I will never forget lying in the sunshine watching them all swimming in the sea with all the treatment behind him and a fresh outlook and perspective about what is important in life.

How do you spend any leisure time?

I love travelling and spending time with friends and family. My four siblings each also have four children so when we are all together it is pretty chaotic!

I love films and six years ago I helped to set up a community cinema with some friends in the village we live in. We are entirely funded by voluntary donations, people only pay what they can afford but over the years we have managed to raise more than £25,000 for local charities. It is great fun and really well attended which means that we can share films with local people who might not normally go to the cinema.

I still enjoy pilates, ballet and skiing but am now getting used to being left behind at most sports by my teenagers.

What would you tell your 16 old self?

Never stop being optimistic and believing that you can make a difference. Follow your passions and try hard to find work that you love and that stretches you. Some people will give you good advice, make sure that you listen.

Try new things – don’t be scared to fail and to learn from your mistakes. Take time to reflect and constantly try to improve. When others hurt you or let you down, feel your feelings, then move on and let it go.

Never be afraid to stand up and speak out about what is important to you.

Be kind and always take the high road. Be grateful for all the opportunities you have.  Take every chance you have to travel and to see more of the world.

Spend time finding the right person to settle down with.  Life is a rollercoaster at times and having the right person beside you through the highs and lows makes all the difference.

If you could change one thing what would it be?

I would like to make the world a fairer and more peaceful place to live, where everyone is born with the same opportunities in life.