Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Focus on Orkney

In March Orkney was voted the UK’s Number 1 Island Destination by Trip Advisor. So, what does Orkney have to offer? Orkney is an archipelago of 70 islands with stunning scenery and wildlife. At the northern tip North Ronaldsay boasts an internationally renowned bird observatory, but also sheep that are walled out of the island and live on seaweed. The islands are steeped in history ranging from World Heritage Neolithic standing stones and dwellings, via the Viking legends of the Orkneyinga Saga and the stunning St Magnus Cathedral through to World War I and the scuttling of the German Fleet in Scapa Flow (now popular with sports divers) and the role played by the islands in the Second World War as a naval base. There is a strong arts tradition, including the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness and a thriving jewellery industry. Various music and science festivals are scattered through the year, but most of all tourists comment on the warmth of the welcome. For a fuller picture of what is on offer visit: www.visitorkney.com 

Training on Orkney

There are currently 4 GPST posts at the Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, which is one of six Rural General Hospitals in Scotland. The posts are unique in that they rotate through surgery and medicine and also include A&E, rehabilitation and palliative care. There are 2 Consultant Surgeons, 3 Consultant Anaesthetists and up until now the Medicine has been delivered by a team of Rural Hospital GPs with remote Consultant support from Aberdeen. NHS Orkney is currently recruiting Consultant Physicians for the first time who will lead the medical service, alongside their Rural Hospital GP colleagues. As a GPST you will be exposed to broad, undifferentiated presentations from the population of 22,000. You will often be the first doctor to assess patients, with rapid Consultant or GP support, which allows you to take meaningful responsibility, whilst knowing that help is close at hand if needed. Having Rural Hospital GPs within the hospital means that there is an additional focus on the skills you need to learn during your GP training. NHS Orkney has a particularly close working relationship with Aberdeen which helps ensure that practice remains up to date. Videoconferencing is used extensively for clinical, educational and management activities. 

Seventeen islands of the archipelago are inhabited. Nine of these islands have single handed-practices, staffed either by GPs or Nurse Practitioners on the smaller islands. They are joined together by the Isles Network of Care set up to provide a robust system of clinical governance and to ensure that practitioners feel supported and part of a team. The network meets weekly via videoconference to discuss clinical and administrative issues. Unified administrative systems allow ease of movement within the network, although the emphasis is on continuity of care to each island community, and it facilitates audit across the practices. Practitioners have periods of time on the Orkney mainland to expose them to wider practice and peer review. Some practices have a particular interest in training, taking on medical students and welcoming GPST visits. 

NHS Orkney has a track record of innovation in the delivery of remote and rural care. It values having GPSTs both within the hospital and in practices and sees you as part of the way in which established clinicians remain up to date and learn from having trainees, as well as teach. Skerryvore Practice has a long tradition of training and this year Dounby Surgery aims to have training status by August. 

Lifestyle on Orkney

In 2012 a government survey found Orcadians were the happiest people in Britain, along with Shetlanders and Hebrideans . So what makes Orkney such a happy place to live? Orcadians tend to look outwards, rather than inwards, but have a strong sense of community responsibility and belonging. 

They have a tradition of sea faring and travel and often view those coming to live in Orkney as people who add to their lives and culture. The economy is based on farming, tourism, fishing and revenue from oil has made the islands financially strong. Orkney has become a world leader in marine renewable energy research. Orcadians value their children and their education as evidenced by a large, current school building programme, along with the addition of a new swimming pool (to be opened next month) at the Pickaquoy sports, arts and leisure centre in Kirkwall. Sport, at all levels and for all ages, is very much part of everyday life with a myriad of clubs and societies to choose from. For example the winter volleyball league has just finished and this year saw in excess of 90 people of varying ability, from 16 to 60 playing in mixed teams each Monday night. Visit www.orkneycommunities.co.uk to get a feel for the breadth of activity you could experience if you chose to come and work in Orkney. 

They say that the proof is in the pudding, currently nine GPs in Orkney undertook part of their training here. Why not join us and see what it is that attracted them.

No comments:

Post a Comment