Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Looking to relocate?You could live, train and play in Moray....

A new recruitment video aimed at attracting talented and ambitious individuals from all backgrounds to come and work in Moray has been launched.

Dr Eric Janousek, GP and Educational Supervisor at Culbin Medical Practice in Forres, features in the video and said: “We have a real diverse collection of GPs from all over the place. There seems to be a number of factors that draws people here – one is the innovation which is possible in a small area.”

Moray has a lot to offer in terms of being a great environment in which to work, live and enjoy leisure time. We hope that once people see the video they, too, will be touched by the magic of Moray and consider making the move here.


Discover GP Scotland Conference

Having just finished my 5th year GP placement in a rural Practice in Argyll, which confirmed my desire to become a GP, I was excited to attend the Undergraduate GP Conference in Edinburgh to learn more about what a career in General Practice could offer.  Several of us travelled down from Aberdeen for the event – it was an early start for some who got on the bus down at 6.30am!  It was great to see so many students there from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee Universities and also from the Queens University in Belfast and to share our enthusiasm for General Practice with them.   
Dr Carey Lunan, the RCGP Scotland Chair opened the conference with an inspiring talk about her career to date and how GPs can make a difference in patients’ lives.  Throughout the day we listened to various GPs talk about how they felt privileged to work in General Practice as they valued the continuity of care and the variety of opportunities available to them to expand their “portfolio career”.   
Throughout the day, we were split into groups to attend different workshops including: consent and confidentiality in General Practice, learning how to do CBT, speed dating with GPs and triage in General Practice.  These gave us the opportunity to discover the variety of paths a career in General Practice can follow and enabled us to ask questions to GPs about what their jobs involved and their favourite aspects of being a GP.   
In the afternoon, there was a Question Time style event with MSPs (most of them former doctors) from the Scottish political parties who answered questions on several topics relating to General Practice, including the new contract, funding and recruitment.  Even though there was a large focus on recruitment and funding issues during the debate, it has not put me off becoming a GP! 
Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to learn more about the variety of options available in General Practice in a “portfolio career” and it was lovely to meet other students interested in General Practice. 

Fiona Cowie 
5th Year Medical Student at the University of Aberdeen 

Easter in the Highlands

Easter weekend and looking for a way to get three young boys and a couple of parents with cabin-fever out and about and away from chocolate eggs, the Xbox and inactivity. After a frustrating car packing and packed lunch readying we headed down to Kingussie and found something for everyone with a spectactular walk around and over Creag Bheag  (487 m) above Kingussie. A 3 mile circular path took us up to the summit with a short detour around the picturesque Loch Gynack. Great views towards the Monadhliath and Cairngorm Mountains and clear blue skies to offset the majestic vista in all directions. On the way up we saw red squirrel and crested tits as we walked along the Gynack Mill path through the Caledonian forest. The weather being so enticing we walked a 'Dad detour' around Loch Gynack and predictably lost the path. My folly was only rescued by a stray Osprey headed north over the loch, perhaps a new male for the lonely EJ recently arrived at Loch Garten, who knows... As we climbed Creag Bheag a Golden Eagle circled in from the bigger hills and a few mountain hare sprinted for cover, more from the kids than the eagle I suspect!

The summit brought a further view of Kingussie village and thoughts drifted to William Pickles and his practice in Aysgarth, walking th
e hills surrounding the practice and thinking on the patients and problems contained within them. What an amazing place... However these idyll reflections were soon interrupted by an impromptu snowball fight which was sure to end in tears and did.

A great day out for all the family which ended in style with a fantastic pizza tea in Aviemore and smiles all around.

Dr Mark Taylor, GP and Trainer, Kingsmills Medical Practice, Inverness
GP Associate Advisor, NES, Inverness Office

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Enjoy running? Like malt whisky? This could be the place for you....

Third Place in 'Best 10K' in UK Running Awards. Come and feel the 'Spirit of the Glen' in 'The Most Beautiful Run in Scotland'. The 8th Glenlivet 10K promises to reach capacity entry early once again this year and be bigger and better. Set in the stunning landscape of the Glenlivet Crown Estate in the Cairngorms National Park with all facilities based at the iconic Glenlivet Distillery. Suitable for all standards of runners and joggers and a race chip timing system is provided. 'A run not to be missed...'

Join the Caledonian GP training Programme and this stunning scenery and many malt whisky distilleries could be on your doorstep......

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A different kind of Rural Medicine.....

We seem to have had a PE epidemic recently (admittedly the one with the ragingly, apparently diagnostically high D-dimer turned out to have no PE but a genuine anaphylactic allergy to exercise, but I digress). It doesn't do much for your confidence when you're about to embark on a trip to rural Thailand. 4 plane journeys out; and 3 plus an overnight bus on the way back - for the first time I actually tried to stave off the clots.  

The rural idyll I was heading for? A refugee camp on the Thailand/Burma border, home to about 40,000 refugees for the last 30+ years. And interloping among them were 40 students, ethnic Karen from inside Burma who've crossed the border for three months of their training as village healthcare workers and medics. Some have finished primary school, some secondary; all of them work unpaid to provide healthcare in their communities. 

I'm among them for a week, with another GPST from Brighton (who seriously considered Orkney for her training) and a retired Singaporean doctor. We're a good team: Emma and I do solid, practical, interactive sessions ranging from poisoning to calculating medicines administration, finding patients in the camp hospital for them to clerk and examine, and teaching them to inject and cannulate; Seet covers the pharmacology that we've forgotten. By the end of the week they can safely give insulin and vaccines to bananas, and  most can cannulate real live people. Steff and his team from Hope 4 the World have created a curriculum with the Karen Department for Health and Welfare and we stick to it carefully. There are different trainers every week, some new ones each year - so hopefully this attention to detail means each new group of students will come out with the same basic knowledge. It's my fourth time teaching the course, my sixth visit to the border - I've worked in one of the clinics for 4 months altogether - and after a few years' absence with my travels it feels like coming home.  

I remember: this is why I do medicine. Each trip back to the border reminds me of the struggles the ethnic groups still face, hidden behind a heat haze, miles of jungle, and media disinterest. It isn't a 'sexy' struggle; the border camps are going nowhere; the village voices are restricted - but I'm a small cog in the team that plants well trained medics among them, training them a little more reach year. Maybe one day I'll even get to visit some of their clinics and train them there - I can dream. 

For now, it's back to Orkney again. From 35°C back to 0°; From cool showers to cool me down back to cold water swims to... um... freeze me? 

2 'homes', 2 loves. 

This, too, is rural medicine. 

This, too, I love.
Dr Alison Lievesley,
GPST, Orkney

GP Fellowship Posts

Unsure what to do after GPST? How about a 1 year GP Fellowship post?

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

GP Speciality Training Committee Meeting

Hello everyone,

My name is Uma, and I am a GPST1 currently at Inverurie Medical Practice. I volunteered for this meeting which was advertised via email. I had no idea what it was all about!

On the day of the meeting, I turned up and was surprised to see that I was the only 1st-year trainee in the room. The rest of the people were all the “who's who” of the GP training world in the North of Scotland! I greeted everyone and took a seat. I think it is safe to say all the most influential people involved in the chain of organisation for training were present. 

My responsibility at this meeting was to represent trainees and share their opinions regarding training. I am unsure how well I did in this regard as it was quite unfamiliar territory. 

Despite this, I was excited to be there and listen to the plans and effort put in to ensure our training runs smoothly. I soon realised that running the GP Programme is quite a complicated and daunting job!

At the same time, it was reassuring to see the competent people working in our interest. 

There were significant benefits of attending the meeting. I got to learn about opportunities after training, information commonly shared with ST3s, and we ended up agreeing this could be very useful for ST1s, as it affords people better opportunity and time to make up their minds about what they envisage their career after training to be.

I guess one of the most important things I want to say is that the Training Programme Directors are very approachable and open to ideas. They encourage trainees to share their thoughts on how best the programme can be run.

If you have any suggestions to improve the program in North of Scotland, please do not hesitate to contact me (uma.abelega@nhs.net), or your program directors: Vicki Guthrie and Monica Milne for Grampian Programme, Rod Sampson for Caledonian Programme and Calum Urquhart for the Rural Track Programee. I am confident that your suggestions and opinions will be given adequate consideration.

The next GP STC meeting is on the 20th of February 2019. I would be delighted to forward your opinions or concerns to the board for discussion or perhaps I might see you there!

Dr Ngu-Uma Abelega
ST1, Inverurie Medical Practice

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

How Big is your ego? Highland and Islands Educational Supervisors Workshop

The Highlands & Islands ES workshop got off to an interesting start last week as participants were asked “How Big is Your Ego?”.
The ES workshop is a peer led, NES supported event providing education and guidance to Educational Supervisors in the Caledonian GPST scheme in the North Deanery.
Having completed a short Transactional Analysis questionnaire we arrived in Aviemore with Ego-grams at the ready and our Drivers and Scripts in reserve.
We compared the state of our egos, Adult, Critical Parent, Nurturing Parent, Adaptive Child and Free Child, battling it out for the much sort after ‘Workshop Ego Awards’.
As Einstein said “Not everything we count, counts and not everything that counts can be counted”, but on this occasion it was all about the numbers and against all the odds and strong competition Iain Craighead (GP & ES in Dingwall) secured two of these coveted 2018 awards at the workshop.
We are not sure what Eric Berne would have made of these antics, but a good start to the workshop was had by all.
Dr Mark Taylor, GP & ES
Kingsmills Medical Practice

Calling all Beach Lovers.....

Choose the North region of the Scottish Deanery and you could train within reach of Riof or Reef Beach – Traigh na Berie – at Uig on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. The only place in Scotland to make Travel’s 50 best beaches.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

An Unexpected Half Day.......

You know that time when the general business of the day touches chaos and the next thing to happen just pushes you over toward coping less well, and you’ve forgotten it’s your turn to pick up the kids or the end of the day takes you into the evening...?
Well if it hasn’t happened to you it does happen to me frequently. Often it manifests itself in more things to do in less time. On this occasion however I had forgotten the payback half-day for the extra session the previous week...
So last Tuesday I went into work with a mind-set of a full day in practice only to see a blank afternoon stretching ahead. I immediately thought it was someone else’s mistake only to find the mistake to be mine!
So then what to do with an unexpected half day blessed by fewer home visits than usual to speed the transition to a carefree half-day. Kids all sorted until 4. ‘Why not head for Whiteness?’ says a colleague.
So a rush home for the trainers and a quick trip along to Whiteness, a hidden gem between Inverness and Nairn, 5 miles of clear sand along side the Moray Firth, leading to a spit of land frequented only by dog walker and their dogs and occasional GPs with unexpected half days.
As I set off at full pace to make full use of the day I was suddenly hit by a jolt of realism. What was I doing adding more speed and business to an already cluttered life. I slowed and walked taking in the day, not only blessed by free time but also clear skies and sunshine.
I stopped by a rocky outcrop to see a flock of sanderling clock-working their way along the shore. As I looked more closely there was also Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwits amidst the less unusual Oystercatchers, Redshank and Curlew.
And as if this day couldn’t get any better a Short-Eared Owl accompanied my return to the car quartering the dunes for dinner.
A lesson to myself to take time to stop and enjoy the moment, particularly when such moments are on the doorstep.
Dr Mark Taylor,
GP Partner and Educational Supervisor,
Kingsmills Medical Practice, Inverness

Have a whale of a time in Scotland!

Look for long-finned pilot whales in the Moray Firth and Orcas around North Scotland whilst completing GP Training in the North Region of the Scotland Deanery....


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Vanquishing Vikings!

Do you have a bit of Viking blood in you? Choose to train in the Shetland Isles and you could join the Jarl Squad celebrating Up Helly Aa!


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Caithness Convert.........

When faced with a change in the placements I was expecting for my GP training programme which meant instead of working in emergency medicine in Aberdeen I would be working in psychiatry in Caithness I have to admit immediately thinking: you have to be kidding?  
My next thought turned to the exact location of Wick and Thurso having never been further north than Inverness before! Six months later and preparing to move on to a new post I have to say my perceptions of both psychiatry and Caithness have been completely changed.  
I was the first GPST taking up the post in psychiatry in Caithness and immediately it was obvious there was much enthusiasm from the local supervisor to make the post educational and relevant to general practice. Having had no experience of psychiatry since medical school my knowledge was patchy and confidence in being able to manage mental health problems limited. I was eased into the post with a useful induction of some light initial reading and then a couple of clinics observing my supervisor followed by him observing me.  
After this I was off on my own (but always with excellent supervision). The vast majority of the job has been outpatient general adult psychiatry with me having two full days of clinics a week seeing a mixture of new and review patients and building up a caseload. There has always been ample time within each day to see and assess patients thoroughly and discuss issues or points of interest with my supervisor. The skills learned in outpatient clinic are totally transferrable to consulting in general practice and quickly I became more experienced in assessing and managing common but also occasionally unusual psychiatric presentations.  
The rest of the week involved Community Mental Health Team meetings, attending the ward round for the local Caithness inpatients (either via VC or travelling to Inverness) and then there was time within the week for admin, e-portfolio/personal study, audit and also the chance to spend time with other specialist teams such as the substance misuse and older adults mental health teams.   
Another unique aspect of the post which I think has been invaluable as part of my GP training has been my experience in CGH. As part of my post I spent one long day per week and one long weekend per month working in the hospital as part of the junior doctor rota.  It was an excellent way to continue to develop acute medical skills while working in an outpatient speciality. Most of my time was spent working in the hospital Emergency Department and although I had never done a job in ED before I found the support in the hospital to be excellent. There are rotating visits from Inverness consultant physicians and surgeons as well as a permanent surgeon and anaesthetist so there is excellent continuity in supervision and teaching.  
From my perspective as a GP trainee one of the most valuable aspects of working in CGH was working alongside the hospital Rural Practitioners. They are all GPs with many years of experience who now work in CGH, mainly in the ED. Being able to work alongside them and discuss seeing the undifferentiated mix of patients presenting to the department and having to manage unwell patients in a rural setting was a great way to learn from experienced GPs and apply this to my own training.  
Although the job itself has been fantastic I was equally as concerned when moving here about life outside work. There really was no need to worry. As well as myself there are a number of FY2s, CDFs, long term and short term locums meaning there has always been quite a solid group of junior doctors keen to explore Caithness.  
Since moving here I’ve trained regularly with the local triathlon club, got in a few very windy miles on my road bike, climbed the highest point in Caithness and managed three trips across the Pentland Firth to Orkney. Within two weeks of moving to Caithness I’d acquired a surfboard from supervisor and started to get familiar with some of the best waves in Europe. Even if the waves aren’t firing the beaches and surrounding coastline themselves are amazing to explore. And if I felt like getting away from Caithness then Inverness is only a two hour drive away and Wick actually has an airport with flights every day to Edinburgh (which you can get a 50% discount on if you live locally).  
I’ve loved working in Caithness for the last 6 months as a GPST and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone for training or life outside work. I’d be happy to discuss training here with anyone interested (jack.cunningham@nhs.net).  

Dr Jack Cunningham, GPST1

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Live and work in Shetland....

Thinking about training in the most Northerly Health board in the country?

Check out NHS Shetland's new recruitment site and look at the opportunities beyond training that could be on your door step if you choose Remote and Rural track training.... 


GP Rural Felowships

Have a read of this article from the NES Annual Report. This could be the next step after completing remote and rural training in the North Region.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A moment in the small screen spotlight...

Always fancied a starring role on the small screen?

This new three-part series tarts tomorrow at 9pm on BBC 2 and features Dr Kerry Cattanach, a former Caledonian programme trainee who trained at the Maryhill Group Practice in Elgin and has stayed on in a GP Assistant role.

The series goes behind the scenes at Elgin Health Centre, one of Scotland's busiest GP Practices, to reveal the reality of running a service with an acute shortage of GPs and ever more stretched resources.