Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Life on The Caledonian Program. Natali Gunawardena

Natali Gunawardena was a GPST3 in Elgin and has just come to the end of her training.  Here are her thoughts on her experience of training in Elgin in the Caledonian program.

My experience of GP training which has involved 3 years based in Elgin has been overwhelmingly positive. I was fortunate to be placed in what I consider to be an exemplary training practice, with excellent support and opportunities to learn and develop throughout my training. Other trainees based in other practices throughout Elgin and the surrounding area report similar positive experiences. We are lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic set of trainers and a very good quality of teaching, though some of this has been via videolink from Inverness.

Some of the less central practices around Elgin e.g. Dufftown, allow the opportunity to experience more rural general practice, while my own practice is one of the largest in Scotland and is placed just across the road from a district general hospital.

I thoroughly enjoyed my 18 months at Dr Gray's Hospital, Elgin, and I believe that I gained more experience and useful training than I would have received in GP training posts in some larger hospitals. It is a small friendly hospital with good facilities considering its size, excellent staff, and the opportunity to work in a relatively senior role which is great experience.

I consider myself very privileged to live in such a beautiful part of the country which is particularly well suited for those interested in outdoor pursuits, as there are opportunities for activities such as mountain biking, skiing and kayaking to be explored in the nearby locality. I plan to continue working here after completion of my training, and at least at the current time employment opportunities in the area are good.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Cuillin Ridge

We would recommend you don't try this one!! It does however highlight the fantastic mountain playground that is within reach when you are based in the North of Scotland.  One of our ex-trainees Finlay Wild currently holds the record for running the Cuillin ridge on Skye from end to end in the unbelievable time of under 3 hours!

So whilst most of us are not quite in the class of either Finlay or Danny Macaskill, we can still get out there and enjoy the fantastic mountain environment that abounds in the North of Scotland.  So if the mountains are your preferred playground, either for skiing, climbing or walking, the North of Scotland has cornered the market!

Finlay Wild on His Cuillin Ridge Record

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Grand Tours of The Scottish Islands

If you are interested in our remote and rural track program then you might be interested in the current BBC series Grand Tours of The Scottish Islands.  The series, presented by Paul Merton, sets out to explore life on the Scottish Isles.

These very same islands have some of the most acute general practice recruitment problems.  Jura, featured in the next program, was without its own GP for almost 2 years, surviving with a succession of GP locums and cover from neighbouring Islay until Drs Martin and Abby Beastall took over the practice in February 2013.  All this despite the islanders running a very innovative Facebook and Internet campaign to recruit a new GP.  The nearby islands of Mull and Islay have also had their own recruitment difficulties.

It is to address some of these difficulties that NES has created the Remote and Rural Track program which provides a 4 year program tailored to developing the skills required for life as a GP in these more remote locations in Scotland.

The programs are on BBC iPlayer and are aired at 7.30pm Monday evenings on BBC1 Scotland.  For those in the rest of the UK, to see them on iPlayer you will need to change your location to Scotland

Interested in island practice?  Here are some interesting links:-