BBC News

Dundee trauma surgeon celebrates NHS colleagues in new artwork

By Graeme Ogston
BBC Scotland Tayside and Central reporter

Published
image copyrightAlastair Faulkner
image captionAlastair said his colleagues were "pretty overwhelmed" by the response to his painting

A trainee trauma surgeon has painted an artistic tribute to his NHS colleagues during lockdown.

Alastair Faulkner's painting Trauma depicts himself and team members at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital.

He said the oil painting took between 80 to 100 hours to complete over a period of seven months.

The painting features in a new book, Portraits of NHS Heroes, compiled by artist Thomas Croft.

Alastair first had the idea of painting his colleagues "many years ago" - but said the Covid pandemic had given it new meaning to the artwork, which measures 1.5m x 1m (59in x 39in).

image copyrightAlaistair Faulkner
image captionThe artist said he wanted to show that patient care was the team's "entire focus"

Alastair, 32, who is in his sixth year of an eight-year training programme, said his artistic career "took a back seat" while he was at medical school.

"I thought, before the pandemic, 2020 is the year I really try and get this done," he said.

"Obviously Covid happened and that changed the motivation and meaning of the painting.

"I think lockdown really influenced the outcome, so it was very much born out of this pandemic."

Alastair said that before lockdown he persuaded his colleagues to pose for a group photo that would be the template for the painting.

The background features an unknown NHS worker in PPE to signify it was painted during pandemic, and the skeleton represents orthopaedics, the team's speciality.

image copyrightAlastair Faulkner
image captionThe painting took between 80 to 100 hours to complete

Alastair said the painting was a "celebration of the team".

"What I love about my job most of all is we work with a huge diverse group of people from many different backgrounds with different skills," he said.

"I also wanted to show that patient care is our entire focus.

"Everybody in this painting is looking at the patient - even in the darkness we will always be there for the patient."

Current restrictions mean that while Alastair's colleagues have not been able to see the painting close up, they have been "excited" at the attention it has attracted.

He said: "They have been pretty overwhelmed.

"I don't think they had imagined what would happen and that I would be in a position where lots of people were wanting to talk about it.

"I would love to display it somewhere, because I really feel it needs to be seen."