Meet the Scottish Rugby consultants

08 February 2019

Spire Edinburgh Hospitals provide Scottish Rugby with medical care as their official healthcare partners. Our consultants provide expertise and specialist care to the entire Scotland squad, they’re on hand on match days and off the field to ensure the team are always at peak fitness and health. Rugby is a physically punishing sport, and with our consultants at the top of their game we help to ensure the country’s top players are match fit and in top condition, leaving one less thing to stand in the way of glory. The same leading expertise in sports health is available to all patients at Spire Edinburgh Hospitals, so you too can enjoy the elite healthcare.

Meet the team

Mr Paul Gaston, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

I have worked with the medical team at Scottish Rugby for the past 10 years, providing assessment, diagnosis and treatment for our professional players. I specialise in hip conditions, ranging from strains of the adductor muscles to more deep-seated joint problems such as cartilage damage. Modern scanning techniques allow highly precise diagnosis, while treatments such as steroid injections or hip arthroscopy (keyhole surgery of the hip joint) allow for precise attention to affected areas in the patient. Treatments such as these allow the Scottish Rugby team to make quick returns to first class rugby.

Mr Graham Lawson, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

I first became involved with Scottish Rugby when treating a number of Scottish rugby players around the IRB Rugby World Cup in 1999 and after that, to prepare them for the forthcoming season. This was my first involvement with professional and Scottish Rugby. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with many of Scottish Rugby’s doctors and physiotherapists and have been privileged to be part of the team of medics who keep players competing at the top level and restore those who sustain significant injuries.

Miss Julie McBirnie, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

I specialise in shoulder injuries, and have been treating Scottish Rugby players since 2007. It is crucial to identify the damage within the shoulder joint at the time of the dislocation. This can range from tears of the soft tissue restraints that stabilise the joint, to fractures from the edge of the socket or humeral head that can occur during the dislocation. Bone injuries increase the risk of recurrent instability after surgery. MRI scans are used to show soft tissue damage in these players, and CT scans identify the bony injuries more clearly. Depending on whether the imaging reveals a soft tissue or bony injury, an arthroscopic repair of the soft tissues or open bone grafting of the socket is usually required.

Dr Scott McKie, Consultant Radiologist

I have over 20 years’ experience in sports injury, which has allowed me to develop the expertise that ensures athletes get accurate and timely diagnosis, using state-of-the-art equipment such as MRI and ultrasound. Having initially trained as an orthopaedic surgeon, followed by specialist training in musculoskeletal and sports imaging, I am uniquely positioned to work with the Scottish Rugby team in providing a holistic approach to sports injuries. I specialise in image-guided therapeutic injections to expedite and optimise recovery as an integral part of the medical team at Scottish Rugby.

Mr John McKinley, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

As a player at Boroughmuir RFC I often helped out with medical cover and continued to do so when I stopped playing. At the end of my orthopaedic training I spent a year in Melbourne and during this time I helped treat many Rugby Union, Rugby League and Ozzie Rules players who had sustained ankle injuries. The year in Australia really developed my interest in sporting injuries in the foot and ankle and when I returned, I became a consultant in Edinburgh. It was at a time that Spire Murrayfield Hospital had just developed a partnership with Scottish Rugby and I was very enthusiastic about being involved in this new collaboration.

The medical setup in Scottish rugby has changed greatly in the professional era and continues to improve and evolve. It has been fantastic to be involved during these changing times, and to be able to help with the management of foot and ankle injuries in rugby players at all levels.

One of my favourite moments as a surgeon is operating on a player, and then seeing them return to play. However, I have learned over the years is that the surgery is only a small part of the process. The majority of the work done in getting a player back on the pitch is from the SRU doctors, physiotherapists and trainers. This coupled with the dedication of the players in doing their rehab means that players get back to play in the quickest possible time.

Get in touch

Call us on 0131 316 2507 for more information or make an enquiry online.

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