Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Attractions of General Practice on Skye, Hannah Macleod

I moved to the Isle of Skye in 2009 to start a one year NES Rural fellowship post, having just finished my GP ST3 year in Comrie, Perthshire. The attraction to Skye (apart from the obvious natural beauty) was that it offered the opportunity to work somewhere without a DGH just round the corner, where a GP would therefore have an extended role. It didn’t disappoint and more than five years later I’m still living and working here.

Looking back I think training in a rural environment offers a range of educational opportunities just not available in an urban setting.

We look after almost 5.500 patients and no working week is the same. As well as the bread and butter consulting at Portree Medical Centre, our urban hub, duties include branch surgeries in Trotternish and on the Isle of Raasay, community hospital ward work and A+E cover. A colleague who has an interest in respiratory medicine is able to work as a clinical assistant when the chest clinic visits Skye and we also offer minor surgery and coil insertions at the practice. Visits to the police station are also part of the job, as our practice is responsible for the “police surgeon” cover in the North of Skye.

With regard to our hospital work we are well supported by our consultant colleagues in Raigmore Hospital and our Rural Practitioner colleagues in the south of Skye. It can be hugely satisfying to follow through someone’s care from home, to the community hospital and home again; an opportunity not many other colleagues have. This can be especially helpful in the palliative care setting.

Opportunities to get involved in activities outside the practice also exist, including supporting the RNLI, mountain rescue team and various other community charities. It is immensely rewarding and a real privilege to care for people who quickly welcome you as part of their community. On top of all this, you get to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, where you can enjoy walking, climbing, cycling, kayaking, the local music, culture and good food….

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