Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Scotland Tops Home Nations Life Study

A European study has suggested that Scotland has the best quality of life among the home nations.

The findings - based on data from 37 regions of the UK - considered factors such as health, safety, access to education and personal rights.

Scotland came top of the UK index - scoring 74 out of a possible 100. Wales came bottom with 72 points.

The study which features 50 separate indicators, was compiled as part of the EU Regional Social Progress Index.

The initiative is a new EU project spearheaded by the European Commission and the Social Progress Imperative, a Brussels-based think tank.

Regions' overall scores and scores for the different aspects of social progress data were graded on a scale of 1 - 100.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Psychiatry Component of Grampian GP Training Receives Recognition

The psychiatry component of the Grampian GP Specialty Training scheme has received recognition of its consistently positive feedback in the annual GMC trainee survey.  We take the results of this survey very seriously, it is an important opportunity for our trainees to let us know how we are doing so it's great to receive this very positive message from our trainees.

"Richard Coleman
Director of Medical Education
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
AB25 3ZN

Dear Dr Coleman,

Recognition of important, positive feedback from doctors in training about the quality of training and the training environment in Psychiatry posts in Royal Cornhill Hospital, NHS Grampian.

Following the Scotland Deanery GP, Public Health & Occupational Medicine Quality Review Panel that was held on 17 August 2016, I write on behalf of the GP PH OM Quality Management Group to congratulate you and the trainers associated with GP training in Psychiatry in Royal Cornhill Hospital, on the very positive feedback that trainees have provided on their experience of training.

The feedback that we have been particularly impressed with relates to:

NTS - Quadruple green in consecutive yearly data.
NTS – 4 or more green flags in a single year and absence of red flags.

We appreciate your leadership of training for your Health Board, but also recognise the valuable contribution made by your trainers, and we are delighted to be able share our awareness of the positive feedback that we have received about the training you provide.

Yours sincerely

 Professor Moya Kelly
Lead Dean – Director

GP PH OM Quality Management Group"

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

General Practice ST1, August 2017 Round 1, National Recruitment Timetable

I know that it probably feels like you have only just started FY2 but the start of Round 1 recruitment for the August 2017 start for GP Specialty Training is fast approaching.  As you can see from the timeline below applications open on the 9th November and close 1st December.  So why not make that all important decision and choose a career in general practice and even more importantly in the North of Scotland, first for lifestyle and first for training!
  • Advert
  • BMJ, NHS Jobs, Oriel
  • Advert Appears
  • 03-Nov-16
  • Apply from
  • 9 November 2016 {10:00am UK Time}
  • Closing Date
  • 1 December 2016 {4:00pm UK Time}
  • Invitations to Specialty Recruitment Assessment Expected by
  • No later than 20 December 2016
  • Specialty Recruitment Assessment
  • 7-14 January 2017
  • Specialty Recruitment Assessment Results Expected by
  • No later than 27 January 2017
  • Invitations to Selection Centre (Interview) Expected by
  • No later than 27 January 2017
  • Selection Centre Window
  • 6-17 February 2017
  • First offers from (n.b. by 5:00pm)
  • 28-Feb-17
  • Hold Deadline
  • 9 March 2017 {1:00pm UK time}
  • Upgrade Deadline
  • 16 March 2017 {5:00pm UK time}

Think GP

The RCGP has produced a series of short videos to  promote careers in general practice.  They give a flavour of the variety that a career in general practice can provide.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Orkney, Shetland & Western Isles Are Best Places To Raise Children

In the recent 2016 Royal Bank Of Scotland Children's Quality of Life Survey, Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles have been voted as the best places in the UK to bring up children.

So what makes the northern tip of Scotland Islands such a good place to bring up children?
  • The average primary school class size (17.0) and pupil to teacher ratio (PTR) in secondary schools (10.0) in the Western Islands are the lowest in Britain (national averages of 26.9 and 20.9 respectively). The Orkneys follow with primary class sizes of 18.1 and a PTR of 9.3.
  • An average school spend in the Orkneys of £9,281 per pupil is the highest in the survey – just over twice the national average of £4,623. The spending ratio in the Western Islands and Shetlands follow at £9,095 and £8,844 per pupil respectively.
  • These factors appear to help secondary school children achieve excellent exam results, with over 90% of pupils in the Islands getting 5 awards at SCQF 4 or better (69.7% GB average1)
  • The Western Islands have the lowest population densities in Britain with just 9 people per square kilometre – compared to the national average of 276. The Shetlands and Orkneys also have equally low population densities with 16 and 22 people/square km respectively.
  • Children can walk about in relative freedom with an average of 71 vehicles per square kilometre in the Western Islands, 142 in the Orkneys and 145 in the Shetlands, compared to 9,587 in Britain as a whole.
  • Importantly, the ONS survey on personal wellbeing indicates the Orkney and Western Island adult populations are among the happiest, most satisfied, least anxious and content in Britain. This bodes well for those growing up on the isles.
So why not give a thought to applying to our Scottish Rural Track GP Training Program?  We have rotations based in all three areas with the hospital component being based in the local Rural General hospitals whilst the GP components are based in the local GP practices.  

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

North of Scotland Ranked as Top in UK for Experience in Secondary Care Posts

In the recent GMC Trainee Survey the North of Scotland GP Specialty Trainees ranked their experience of their secondary care posts the highest of all the UK deaneries.

UK Mean
UK Ranking
North Region
1st of 20
East Region
6th of 20
South-East Region
7th of 20
NHS Education for Scotland
11th of 20
West Region
19th of 20

So why not come and train in the UKs top ranking schemes, first for training and first for lifestyle!  It's not us saying that, it is our trainees.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Another view from the other end...

Another view from the other end...

It was an ordinary Friday afternoon in an ordinary surgery in the North of Scotland. I looked down to the latter part of the surgery list and just knew that Tony (not his real name) would be a DNA. Now, just to avoid confusion with acronyms, I mean “Did Not Attend” rather than Deoxyribonucleic Acid. Often, the very mention of DNA raises howls of indignation and tabloid accusations of ingratitude but Tony had a very good reason for not attending. He was dead. He’d died 2 weeks before and this was a legacy appointment, made some 4 weeks ago. Somewhat selfishly, I left the appointment in place (given that it was only 20 minutes away at the time) and used the time to think of Tony. He and I go back a long, long way. In fact I first met him when I was in my hospital training as an SHO (the old equivalent of a GPST2) in 1984 and I still have a letter from myself in his GP notes to prove it. It was fascinating to pause and think of how much our world has changed in a generation and a half, both medically and socially.

I knew that Tony would thoroughly approve of the fact that he’s inadvertently given me a “flanker”* and a wee bit of extra time to cope with my notoriously over-running surgeries. He was always one to champion the “wee man” in life, not in a rebellious flag bearing way, but if he could stick two fingers up at overbearing self-important authority, he would. Interestingly, he always counted me amongst those who stood up for the angry, the lonely and the dispossessed. I valued that greatly. He even forgave me being an Aberdeen supporter against his own background of a diehard “Sellick”** supporter. Tony was no angel and had a pretty chequered history in his younger days but had mellowed substantially with age and wisdom. Happily, for him, his death was sudden and unpredicted, exactly how he’s told me he wanted it. Out of respect for Tony, I did take the time to think back over such a long association rather than catch up. It’s one of those moments which define General Practice and what makes it so special. I’ve been immensely privileged to be part of his life rather than simply his medical adviser.

I’ll miss him.

*“Flanker”- In Scots slang- it’s generally a non-malicious trick or sleight to gain a small advantage.

**”Sellick”- the West of Scotland phonetic pronunciation of Glasgow Celtic FC, where the letter T is routinely dropped from words.

Alex Thain (older GP...)