Braemar opts for a personal touch

Braemar opts for a personal touch
Natalie McIlmale and Leanne Fegan with Jazz.

Calm efficiency appears to reign in Shane Murray’s Braemar practice. It is, he says, the result of a deliberate focus on communication and teamwork…

One of the first things you notice when you arrive at Shane Murray’s Braemar veterinary clinic at the upper end of the fashionable Lisburn Road in Belfast is the sense of calm orderliness that pervades in this bright and airy practice.

That’s not accidental. Since opening Braemar in 2006 – and a further satellite clinic at Dunmurry five years ago – Saintfield-born Shane has championed a very deliberate focus on teamwork, staff development and inter-practice communication which, he believes, has contributed immensely to efficiency and effectiveness in the business.

Dr. Shane Murray

‘You read a lot of things these days about practices that have all sorts of equipment and services, but I don’t think that’s really what makes a good practice, I think what makes a good practice is a good team,’ Shane told NIVT recently. ‘And I think we have a team like that here, we communicate with each other, we work efficiently and we talk to each other all the time because I really believe that teamwork is the key to a successful practice.’

The modern Braemar practice now has four vets in total, including Shane. It’s accredited to Royal College Practice Standards and it’s a nurse training practice that comprises a busy surgical hospital, an A&E department, a pharmacy, a retail counter, a cattery and a burgeoning digital presence which is likely to grow, says Shane, as telemedicine becomes more prevalent.

‘Our aim now is to be a high quality, first-opinion practice capable of providing good patient care and case continuity to clients,’ says Shane. ‘Veterinary surgery and medicine are advancing very quickly and I think that first-opinion practice has an invaluable role to play in providing support and guidance that clients can trust…Our whole team brings different qualities and skills into the practice and all of them strive to provide a personal touch which, I think, clients really notice.’

Dr Shane Murray qualified from Glasgow University in 1997 and went straight into mixed practice at Drumahoe near Derry-Londonderry, where he stayed for just over a year. He also worked in Bedfordshire and spent a couple of years as a locum, working in England and Australia.

After a year spent tackling the foot and mouth outbreak in England during the early noughties, Shane returned to Northern Ireland and spent two years at Rathgael Veterinary Clinic in Bangor before the opportunity to venture out on his own in Belfast arose.

‘Right from the start, I saw it as an exciting opportunity,’ he recalls. ‘It was part of a rewarding journey and in the time since, I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been able to build a good team around me and some fabulous clients.’

The two-storey building on the Upper Lisburn Road was previously home to offices and Shane invested a six-figure sum to re-purpose and equip the new surgery. Today, facilities at Braemar include digital radiography, ultrasound, ECG and anaesthetic monitoring equipment, an in-house laboratory and even in-patient CCTV.

In parallel with an ongoing investment in team training and communication, Shane has continued to spend on technology to aid administration in the practice. Braemar now offers electronic text and email reminders to clients, real time online appointment booking, online repeat prescriptions and online payment options. Patient records have also been digitised and Shane says that he hopes eventually to create a paperless practice.

Ultimately, however, it comes back to the staff and to the work of the nursing team in particular, says Shane:

‘Our nurses are central to the way we operate at Braemar,’ he explains. ‘They’re busy every day with consultations and running clinics, managing theatre and taking care of in-patients. They are an invaluable support to the vets and provide fantastic reassurance and communication for clients.’

Shane says that this is an exciting time to be part of a veterinary team: 

‘After 20 years in practice, I still find this to be a tremendously rewarding profession and I’m privileged to work with the team that we have at Braemar,’ he tells NIVT.

And he says that while he has a good idea about where he wants to take the practice in the future, he adds that, ‘for now my goal is  continuing to develop the good team that we currently have in place here to support growth in the practice. There is still great potential for growth here and of course, that’s somethingwe’re going to be focused on in the months and years ahead.’