Due to Orkney’s geography, General Practice has always been pretty self-sufficient; used to taking on extended roles within Primary Care, dealing with emergency presentations on the single-handed outer isles and taking on a broad spectrum of roles within the Balfour Hospital. We also have a strong tradition of GP training both within Primary Care and the hospital.
There have been a number of changes in the Balfour Hospital over the last year. Until last year the hospital medical service had been run by a team of Rural Hospital GPs who had developed specialist skills in acute medicine and were closely supported by the Aberdeen Consultants. Following a redesign of our services we were fortunate to appoint Consultant Physicians Drs Izabela Bodzioch and Tomasz Waszyrowski in 2013 to run the service and work alongside the two remaining Rural Hospital GPs; Drs Charlie Siderfin and Elaine Toms.
The anaesthetic team of Drs Colin Borland, Marek Wolanski and Aneta Sowinska have been joined by Dr Paul Cooper, Consultant Anaesthetist. Dr Michael Dohrn and Mr Caesar Zawal, Consultant Surgeons head up the Surgical Department and Drs Sujan Sen and Andreas Laut were also appointed in 2013 as Consultant Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
As the new model of working has settled in over the last months we have given some considerable thought as to how best deliver our GPST training in order to utilise the new skills and talents within our teams. Drs Izabela Bodzioch and Tomasz Waszyrowski have taken on the role of Clinical Supervisors to the GPSTs, closely supported by Dr Charlie Siderfin who previously undertook this role. Izabela and Tomasz both have previous training experience in Poland and England. Dr Sujan Sen has taken on a newly defined role of Local Programme Lead and will have overall responsibility for organising our Postgraduate and Undergraduate teaching programmes. Sujan has considerable training experience as well as a Diploma in Medical Education.
The Anaesthetic and Surgical Departments are keen to continue supporting the training programme. In addition to providing day to day clinical supervision to the GPSTs they are contributing to our seminar programme and are keen to provide additional in-theatre training from both an anaesthetic and surgical perspective, to individuals interested in extending their skills.
In the last 6 months the anaesthetists have established a High Dependency Unit. This has greatly increased our capacity to manage critically ill patients and is another useful area of training for our Rural Track GPSTs. By the end of the summer we will have our long awaited CT scanner; this will have a considerable positive impact on our working practice. To date patients requiring CT scanning have been transferred to Aberdeen.
The Balfour Hospital has to deal with the full range of hospital presentations. As a GPST you will be exposed to a very broad, undifferentiated case mix. You will be working front line in managing these presentations, with close Consultant support when needed. Having two Rural Hospital GPs working full time in the Balfour helps ensure particularly close working relationships with Primary Care and an important focus on the skills that you need to acquire as a GPST.
In May we have planned a “Learning Festival” based around a visit from the Mobile Skills Unit (http://www.csmen.scot.nhs.uk/). We have created a full 2-week programme of clinical skills training, delivered by local clinicians. In addition we have a “Training the Trainers” course to expand our local faculty of Clinical Scenario Trainers so that we can develop a regular programme of scenario training using our high fidelity training manikins SIM-Man, SIM-Baby and SIM-NewB.
Despite Orkney’s location, just off the northern tip of Scotland, Kirkwall is less than an hour’s flight from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness. There are ferry connections from Aberdeen, Scrabster, Gill’s Bay and John O’Groats. There is an immensely wide variety of activities, places of interest and spectacular wildlife. See last year’s article “Orkney Number 1 Island Destination” posted last year to get a fuller flavour of what is on offer.
If you are interested in becoming a Rural GP and are considering applying to the Rural Track we hope that you will consider the benefits Orkney has to offer you. Please do not hesitate to contact Dr Charlie Siderfin (Rural Hospital GP and GP Associate Advisor) if you would like any more information.
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