DAVID Blaney – an innovator and a pioneer in a number of fields in medical education and general practice – has died aged 58.
He had a strong drive to achieve, which was based on a wish to do the right thing for those he taught, trained and supervised. The right thing was informed by his wide knowledge of educational theory and methods and experience of general practice and the needs of patients.
He completed his own programme for vocational training in Edinburgh, including a year as GP trainee with Gordon Gaskell in Eyre Crescent. For five years he then held an innovative post in Livingston which was half- time GP and half-time lecturer in general practice at Edinburgh University. In 1986 he obtained with distinction the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP).
In 1989 he joined a small rural practice in Killin. While there, alongside his GP work, he was an HM Commissioner for Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, then a part-time lecturer in the department of general practice at Dundee University.
During that time he set up communication skills programmes and vocational training teaching.
In 1999, David became the director of postgraduate general practice education for south-east Scotland, a post he held for ten years. He was the director of the MSc in clinical education at Edinburgh University and became a visiting professor in 2007.
His main research interests were in communication skills, GP appraisal and performance assessment.
These interests were put into practice as an examiner for the MRCGP, a lead assessor for the performance procedures at the General Medical Council (GMC) and a lead visitor for the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) and the GMC.
He developed and led the performance assessment network in Scotland which was a national system for diagnosing and managing under-performance in doctors in Scotland.
His final post with the MPS embraced an educational prevention system to help doctors recognise their difficulties and respond to them.
David was a visionary leader who liked a light-touch approach. This was helped by a self-deprecating sense of humour. He developed loyal teams and colleagues and brought academic and educational rigour to questions. He was always challenging and pressed people to obtain breadth in their thinking.
David, who died of oesophageal carcinoma, had many interests outwith medicine and had an impressive knowledge of the arts, music, sport, travel and history.
He leaves his wife Julia, three children and three grandchildren.
n Professor Stuart Murray, Dr Iain Lamb and Dr Philip Gaskell