Sunday, 24 November 2013

Training Practice Profile : - Portlethen Medical Practice, Grampian

As part of our blog we thought it would be useful for you to hear what our GP trainees thought about their experiences in their GP Training Practices. David Lovell, who is on the third year of the 4 year Grampian scheme, has written about his ST1 experiences at Portlethen Medical Practice in Grampian

“You’ll need to drink your tea faster if you’re going to be a GP!” - This was one of the first things my GP trainer said to me when I visited Portlethen Medical Practice for the first time. After spending six months working there I can see what she meant! However, I have become increasingly glad that this is the case. During my time there I was constantly presented with numerous new challenges many times a day, and it was great.

Portlethen Medical Practice is a fairly large practice and looks after around 13 000 patients. It has nine partners and two salaried GPs (as well as various locums). There is also a highly experienced and knowledgeable nursing team who deal with many things, most notably the triage of emergency calls. What struck me about the practice was how organised it all felt. Everyone from the doctors to the office staff all have their specific specialist interests and duties. Above all everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming.

Portlethen is really a commuter town so there are lots of people of working age, who work predominantly in Aberdeen’s oil industry and are therefore quite affluent. There are also quite a lot of new build houses, which means lots of young families and their young children (and their URTIs!). All of this means the patients are often quite knowledgeable, quite concerned about their health and tend to have high expectations of you.

From ST1 onwards I had the opportunity to see plenty of these patients. With practise and guidance I gradually managed to improve my consultation skills and increased the number of patients I saw in a day, seeing a mixture of acute and chronic problems. If a problem was tricky, there was always a supervising GP on hand to ask for advice. Even during my short time at Portlethen I built-up very good on-going relationships with a lot of my patients, which was an extremely satisfying experience.

Every week or so I did on-call sessions with the duty doctor which involved dealing with everything from telephone consultations with the worried well to the acute management of fairly significant illness and pathology. The doctors take it in turns to be the duty doctor for the morning or afternoon and see all the patients needing seen that day (whether in the surgery or at home). It can get quite busy when you are on-call, but it means you can focus on your day-to-day work when you’re not.

There is a clear focus on training and mentorship at the practice. There are two experienced GP trainers (and a third who is working towards becoming one at the moment). As an ST1 I received up to three, ninety minute tutorials, per week. These were carried out one-on-one with the trainers and focused very much on my personal learning needs. We might discuss patients had been seen, complicated cases, communication skills and various clinical topics. There was certainly no shortage of things to put in my ePortfolio after these sessions!

The nice thing about Portlethen Medical Practice is that, even as a trainee, I felt like an important and respected member of the team. I am very much looking forward to returning there in ST3.

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