Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Orkney, Best Place To Live in Scotland

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons
Orkney has retained its title as the best place in Scotland to live in a new survey.  The 2015 Bank of Scotland Quality of Life survey placed Shetland second and the Western Isles third.

Orkney secured the top spot for the third consecutive year by scoring highly in categories including health, employment, low crime rates and good weather. It also boasted a low population density.

Top 10 Scottish areas

  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Islands
  • Western Isles
  • Aberdeenshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Scottish Borders
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • Moray
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Aberdeen

The survey reported that Orkney had the highest employment rate in Scotland, with 86.3% of adult residents being in work, ahead of Aberdeenshire (81.7%) and Shetland (80.9%).

These were above the Scotland average of 73.8% and the UK average of 72.9%.

So why not apply for our Rural Track Program with rotations based in each of the top three in the survey?  We have rotations based in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, with hospital aspects of the rotations based in our rural general hospitals and the general practice aspect being based in the local training practices.  Our rural general hospitals get extremely positive feedback from our trainees with lots of hands on experience that is very appropriate for GP training all closely supported by the local consultants.

If the rural track is not for you then take a look at our Grampian Program with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire both figuring in the top 10 of the survey.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Day In The Life of a Rural GP

Rachael Crawford is a Rural Fellow working with NHS Highland as a GP in Sutherland. In this article for NHS Highland she describes her day as a rural GP

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Selling Medicine and General Practice

Here is a photo of our GPSTs at the NHS Grampian stand at the recent Skills Scotland event. They had a very successful and enjoyable day promoting studying medicine to school pupils.

" I really enjoyed the event and talking with the school children. I answered specific and varied questions from 'Is it like Gray anatomy?' To 'What grades are needed for entrance?' to giving the children answers on the qualities needed, promoting the various options medicine provides, to promoting medicine and GP in general and making it sound really fun."

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Developing an Interest in Sexual Health

Rachael Hamilton, one of our  ST3s talks about how she has developed her special interest in sexual health.

"As you can imagine, Sexual Health forms a large proportion of consultations in General Practice. It was during my first 6 months of General Practice in ST1 that I appreciated just how many! How to help patients in choosing the best and safest method of contraception for them? What to do if they have adverse effects, complications? How to manage tricky ethical issues? I fast found myself wishing to become more knowledgeable in this area and made it one of my goals whilst in General Practice training to complete the Diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Health (DFSRH).

The diploma was straight forward to apply for by emailing the DFSRH co-ordinator for the Northeast of Scotland and filling out the appropriate forms. The DFSRH comprises of three stages. Firstly, an online knowledge assessment - a straightforward test of basic theory. Secondly, a course which comprises of 5 hours of small group workshops - this was an informal and friendly day out of practice, a chance to show my knowledge by participating in group discussion and learn more from the experts. Finally, a few days spent with the experts at the centre for Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare to gain clinical experience and be observed as part of an assessment.

I found the diploma fascinating and so worthwhile. The workload was very manageable whilst being a full time GPST. I completed the first part of the diploma in ST1, the practical sessions in ST2 and so when returning to General Practice in ST3 I had achieved my diploma. I was so much more confident consulting with patients regarding contraception, related ethical issues and sexual health problems. Once every couple of weeks I now do the contraceptive clinic at the practice which comprises solely of performing contraceptive implant procedures. As well as this being very helpful for the practice, it can be a lovely alternative to 10 minute consultations!

Aberdeen now offers a career start programme in Sexual and Reproductive Health which enables you to become even more experienced in this area.

Whether you wish to carry out the Sexual and Reproductive Health diploma for increased knowledge or to pursue it as a specialist interest, I would highly recommend it!


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

One Week Left to Apply for GP Training

There is one week left to make that all important decision to apply for GP Training August 2016 entry.  The North of Scotland GP Training programs are ranked amongst the highest in the UK in the annual GMC training survey.  Couple that with the amazing lifestyle opportunities available in the North of Scotland and you have a great package on offer.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

North of Scotland, The Outdoor Capital of Great Britain

The North of Scotland really can boast of being the outdoor capital of the UK.  The opportunities are endless.  Whether it is hill walking, climbing, cycling, skiing, kayaking or sailing there is something here for you.  The scenery is breathtaking as can be seen in this short video of the Cairngorms and the North & West Highlands.  

Our Grampian scheme is within an hour drive of the southern and eastern Cairngorms whilst our Caledonian scheme based around Inverness is within easy reach of both the Cairngorms and the North West Highlands.  Our rural track scheme bases in Oban, Fort William, Stornoway, Wick Shetland and Orkney have all this on their doorstep.

So if it is the outdoors that you enjoy, there is nowhere better to go for your GP training!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

View from the other end...

It was an ordinary appointment in an ordinary surgery in the North of Scotland.  I was seeing Janet (predictably, not her real name) and her mum and they set me thinking...They’re part of an extended family of just six who've seen me through my working lifetime since they cover five generations and a quarter century of my own Practice here.  It’s an amazing privilege to be involved in their lives and loves (not literally!), their aspirations and fears and ultimately one of their passing. If the involvement itself wasn't enough, there’s been a plethora of medical interest and curiosities intertwining with their complexity. Out of this six, I've been involved with a multitude of conditions. And that’s before considering how life events such as redundancy, emigration and planning disputes have affected their respective health. Finally, into the mix, I’d need to add their interests such as, photography, dancing and dubious football alliances.

This is the joy of continuity across families and generations and only General Practice can offer it. For me, it’s a genuine privilege and has sustained me through QOF and more NHS restructuring than anyone should have to endure in a working lifetime.  Patients value it, we value it and we should be spreading the word among our own- this is why General Practice is different, this is why it’s interesting- even after 30 years!

Alex Thain

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

One Week Till August 2016 GP Training Applications Open

Applications for August 2016 GP training open Wednesday November 11th and will remain open for 3 weeks and will close December 3rd.

We have 3 programs here in the North of Scotland.  The Grampian program is based around Aberdeen and offers a mixture of opportunities with both town practices in and around Aberdeen and more rural options across Aberdeenshire.  The Caledonian program is centered on Inverness and again has a mix of general practices both in the city of Inverness and more rural practices across Moray and Highland.

Our final program is the National Rural Track program that is based around our Rural General hospitals in Oban, Fort William, Stornoway, Wick, Orkney and Shetland.  This innovative four year program offers fantastic training opportunities within the hospital posts along with the rewarding and challenging experiences of rural general practice.

Not only do our programs receive the best feedback from our trainees in the GMC survey but Grampian and Highland also consistently rank among the top regions in the UK in quality of life surveys.

Whether it is the vibrant social life of the cities of Aberdeen or Inverness or the fantastic outdoor opportunities that abound in the North of Scotland, we have something for everyone.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Get a Feel For Aberdeenshire, Part of The Grampian Program

If you are not familiar with Aberdeenshire, here is a video produced by the local Council that shows off some of the strengths that contribute to the region's award-winning quality of life. A look at some of the top class industries in Aberdeenshire, including oil & gas, tourism, fisheries, food & drink, and the stunning history & heritage of Aberdeenshire.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A Wee Tour of Aberdeen

If you are interested in coming to Aberdeen to join our Grampian program but are not familiar with it then have a look at this video to get a feel for what its like.

A wee tour of Aberdeen from Roy Stewart on Vimeo.

It's not just about Aberdeen, within an easy drive of Aberdeen you can be in the heart of the Cairngorms or Royal Deeside.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

2015 GMC Trainee Survey

The results of the 2015 GMC Trainee Survey are now available on line.  The survey is a valuable source of feedback for us and allows us to see where are programs are working well and where we need to improve them.

Unfortunately, now that Scotland is considered as a single deanery we are no longer able to separate out the North of Scotland however looking at Scotland as a whole, this years survey continues the very positive message that trainees have given us in the past.

Looking at the GP component of our training programs we are ranked second in the UK for overall satisfaction, just being pipped by Health Education South West who scored 90.7% compared to our 90.6% !  Looking at the GP component of training in more detail we were consistently ranked near the top in the UK.

  • Educational supervision:- Top
  • Clinical Supervision:-       Second
  • Induction:-                        Second
  • Supportive environment:- Second
So why not come and join us in one of the UK's top Deaneries for GP training!

Relocating From London

My name is Harriet and I'm a newly qualified GP just returning to work after my maternity leave. Relocating to Aberdeen from London just before my son was born, I was completely new to the area, personally and professionally. I confess to some anxieties about the transition but so far, the decision to move to Scotland has proved to be one of my best.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Final Wednesday

For most of our GP training (and especially during our GP placements) we've had ‘day release’ on most Wednesdays, and today was our final session.

For those reading this who aren’t yet GP trainees, day release is the time in the week where we get a reprieve from our clinical responsibilities and have an opportunity to meet up with our peers in small groups to see how things are going.

Of course, there is a bit more structure to it than what I am describing at the moment. We usually did a PBSGL module (short for Problem Based Small Group Learning) where we had discussions around a particular topic that we had identified as a learning need. In addition to this, part of the session was facilitated by a GP who helped us to grapple with various concepts related to general practice as well as various difficult cases we had seen.

But the most useful thing by far was to use the session as a means of providing mutual support in dealing with the stresses of learning how to be a GP and with life in general.

In short, it was always nice to have a bit of a breather in the middle of the week. I’m quite certain it has been a sanity saver on many occasions, especially in the lead up to our various assessments, reviews and exams.

Anyway, today was our final Wednesday. Everyone had brought along various breakfast goodies and extra time had been allotted so we could consume it all and have a generally nice time. The whole thing was making me feel quite nostalgic. The last four years had been hectic, especially the last 12 months. But we had done it! High fives all round!

For me, the experience of GP training has changed me for the better. It has not been passive ‘learning by osmosis’ type of training, but an active, challenging, mind over matter kind of experience. Considerably harder than I had expected, but far more worthwhile too.

Today though, the overwhelming feeling among us (as far as I could tell) was one of optimism. Sure, we were being plunged into an area of medicine where massive challenges lie ahead. But isn’t that part of the fun?

One thing is for certain though, I’m definitely going to need some kind of substitute for Wednesday day release. Is anyone up for organising something?

David Lovell

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Timetable for ST1 Recruitment for August 2016

ST1 Recruitment for August 2016

Advert appears  Thursday 5th November 2015
Applications open (10am, UK time)  Wednesday 11th November 2015
Applications close (4pm, UK time) Thursday 3rd December 2015 
Longlisting completed by Tuesday 15th December 2015 
Stage 2 invitations sent out No later than Monday 21st December 2015 
Stage 2 Assessment Window   Saturday 2nd January – Saturday 9th January 2016
Stage 3 invitations sent out No later than Wednesday 20th January 2016 
Stage 3 Selection Centre and local ACF Interview Window  Monday 1st February – Friday 12th February 2016
First Offers released   Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Holding deadline (1pm, UK time) Thursday 17th March 2016 
Upgrading deadline   (4pm, UK time)Thursday 24th March 2016
Feedback to candidates   Following completion of Round 2

No sooner have we completed the inductions for the August 2015 entry to GP Specialty training than the whole process starts all over again!  The timetable for GP Specialty Training commencing August 2016 has been released and is shown above.  So now is your opportunity to make that life changing decision and come to the North of Scotland for your GP Specialty training.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Aberdeen "Second Best Place To Live In The UK"

Aberdeen has been voted the best city in which to live in Scotland, and second best in the UK.

The Granite City came second only to Reading and was judged as being a better place to live than Glasgow or Edinburgh.  A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and think-tank Demos found that Aberdeen scored highly in a number of categories, including jobs, health, income, skills, work-life balance, house prices and travel time.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

My experience in G.P Training @ the North Scotland Deanery

Femi Omatara has just completed our 4 year Grampian Program and has been kind enough to share his thoughts on his experiences over the last 4 years.

I have just completed my 4 year GP training program and thought I would share my experience to help others considering doing the same training in the North of Scotland. My journey started in August 2011.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Can You Think Outside The Box?

  • Are you considering applying for General Practice Training but not sure if it’s for you?
  • Are you an FY2 planning a GP taster week but not sure where to go?
We are here to help. In the North of Scotland we have done the hard work for you.

Orkney and Shetland 'best two places to raise children in Britain'

The North of Scotland regularly tops the quality of life surveys for both Scotland and the UK.  In this latest survey looking at "Best Places to Raise Children", published by Bank of Scotland, areas covered by the North of Scotland GP Training Schemes fill the top 5 places with Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles filling the top three places in that order.  The islands were closely followed by Aberdeenshire and Highland in fourth and fifth places with Argyll and Bute also in the top 10 in eighth place.

Read more in these articles from the BBC and The Times.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Welcome Class Of 2015

Welcome class of 2015.  It was great to welcome on board the new class of 2015 at their induction last week.  The future of general practice is in safe hands!  We spent a productive couple of days looking at how we can develop the skills that will support us not just through GP Specialty Training but our whole life in General Practice.

All this was suitably fueled by a selection of home bakes produced by the GP Adviser Team and their families!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Career Start

The step from being a GP trainee to being a partner is a big one and can feel a bit daunting for some.  In Grampian we have developed a halfway house, the Career Start Scheme.  These are one year posts for newly qualified GPs to allow them to become established in general practice whilst at the same time developing a special interest for 2 sessions per week.

Read about Eloise’s experience as a Salaried “Career Start” GP working in a semi rural practice in Grampian.

I applied to the Grampian Career Start programme for a variety of reasons: Mainly because I enjoy hospital-based acute medicine and emergency care in particular, and was keen to maintain an interest in these areas. Also because I felt I still had a lot to learn despite completing my GP training, and Career start seemed like a good half-way house between a trainee position, and working full-time in General practice. It offers support and supervision if required, and also the stability of being based in one GP practice as opposed to moving about between surgeries as a locum GP, which would have been the alternative option for me at this stage.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

No Looking Back! From London to Aberdeen

We were standing in the kitchen of our flat in London when out of the blue my husband asked 'Fancy moving to Aberdeen?'  He had been working on a project up there and had been offered a permanent post. I took a sip of my coffee and thought 'Why not?

I was a few months away from finishing GP training and we had no particular ties to staying in London. Every journey, to work or to see friends, took an hour door to door. We couldn't afford the sort of house we wanted to start a family in. May be a move was just what the doctor ordered?

A few weeks later, we took a flight up to Aberdeen. Within an hour of landing we were climbing sand dunes on the beach at Balmedie. The sun was shining, the sea was brilliant blue and the beach was empty. That evening we walked into the city centre, taking in the impressive granite buildings and enjoyed a great meal. The next day we drove out to the Cairngorm national park and realised how close Aberdeen was to some truly wild scenery. As we sat on the plane waiting to take off back to London, our decision was made.

Since moving here, we have never looked back. We live less than a five minute commute from each of our jobs, we were able to afford a beautiful home, have started a family, made a wonderful group of friends and each weekend are spolit for choice: a picnic on the beach, a walk in the hills, dolphin-watching at the harbour, a visit to a fairytale castle...the list goes on.

Being a GP is a stressful and demanding job wherever you decide to do it, but with access to all this on your doorstep, Aberdeen gives you plenty of chance to unwind.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Career Start

I am coming to the end of my Career Start Year and it’s certainly been everything I had hoped for and more. You may have seen from my blog at the start of the year I was combining GP with Old Age Psychiatry. As it happens this has worked out perfectly!

From August I will be taking up a part-time partnership at the practice where I have spent the last 12 months. This has allowed me to have a very good idea of how things work but more importantly getting to know the people I will be working with. As this is only part time to start with I need to have another source of income and I have been able to get 3 sessions a week in Old Age Psychiatry, continuing the work I have been doing in my Career Start for the past year. Without the experience of the past 12 months I suspect it would have been impossible to get as it was only created by me asking for it. Fortunately they had some spare money and have given me a job.

Looking back on the year I am much more confident in my skills as a GP but have also developed so many new ones, which has allowed me to explore other areas of medicine I would never have thought about during my training. The secondary care team have also enjoyed and valued having a GP about and I have been able to create some invaluable working relationships.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the year and would certainly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Andrew Rigby

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Career Development Posts

This year we have a new option for anyone who has completed Foundation but does not yet feel ready to commit to specialty Training.  The Career Development posts are for 1 year and are a combination of  two 6 month hospital posts along with 6 x 1 week release to general practice.

In the North of Scotland we have 6 of these posts. The posts would form an excellent basis for a future application to general practice and the skills gained should stand you in good stead for the recruitment process for GPST next year.  The time spent in the posts will not however count towards your GP training and you would still be expected to complete the full training program if you were successful in applying to GPST for August 2016.

For more information on these posts follow the link below.

Applications closed but late contacts with Dr Jerry O'Rourke considered

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Recruitment for GP Specialty Training commencing August 2015 is now complete with the deadline for accepting posts in Round 2 now passed.  So congratulations to the 41 successful applicants coming to the North of Scotland.  We have 24 who have successfully gained places on the Grampian programs and 12 on the Caledonian programs along with 5 on our Rural Track program.

So congratulations to you all on making such a smart decision and electing to spend a life in general practice!  We look forward to meeting up with you in August at your inductions.  Our admin team will be in touch with you with all the information that you need in the run up to August.

We have a training intranet called Moodle that houses all the information on your training program and you will need to register for this.  Instructions and the necessary passwords will be forwarded by email in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Working On Orkney

I can't say why I chose to take a job working in Orkney for 6 months, I have to admit, I had no idea where Orkney even was (and had a big shock when I searched for it on Google maps after applying). I saw it advertised, thought it looked interesting and a bit different and without too much thought applied for it. I never regretted what I guess was a bit of an impulsive decision..

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

North Coast 500

Interested in our Rural Track Program but just need that extra little persuasion?  Then just have a look at the video above.  This highlights some of the spectacular scenery that is the North of Scotland and that makes it one of the best places to live and work in the UK.  How many GPs in the UK can drive through scenery like this whilst doing their home visits?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


For the most part being a GP trainee is absolutely fantastic and I cannot imagine doing any other career in medicine. However, for a long time during our training there was one thing that loomed rather ominously ahead of us. The Clinical Skills Assessment (or CSA) is the big final exam that we all have to get through before we qualify and is based around a simulated surgery with actors who play patients with frequently very tricky problems.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Dolphins:- One of Aberdeen's Biggest Attractions!

Aberdeen's annual Dolphinwatch project is under way.

Dolphins are one of Aberdeen's biggest tourist attractions, with the city regarded as being among the best places in Europe to spot them.

Volunteers from RSPB Scotland's Dolphinwatch expect thousands of visitors to try to catch a glimpse of the spectacular sea antics over the summer.

The Dolphinwatch project was pioneered in 2013.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

"Best Powder Snow in The World!"

Photo courtesy of Glencoe Resort
Love your skiing or snowboarding?  Thinking of doing GP Specialty Training?  Why not come to the North of Scotland?  Our Rural Track program has snowsports on the doorstep, even in May as evidenced by this article on the BBC website. Glencoe is less than an hour's drive from both Oban and Fort William, two of the centres on our Rural program.

A snowsports centre in Scotland has been described as having the "best powder snow on the planet".

The conditions at Glencoe Mountain Resort, which are highly sought after by skiers and snowboarders, followed heavy snowfalls over the last few days.  Snowaction magazine has rated the centre as having the best powder snow of any of the world's ski resorts at the moment.

The last day of skiing at Glencoe for the 2014-15 season is 4 May.The resort has had heavy snowfalls since the weekendA snowsports magazine has hailed the conditions at Glencoe

A spokesperson for Glencoe Mountain said: "Conditions for this time of year are truly exceptional.
The conditions are more like what you would expect on a midwinter.  Normally by the May weekend we are skiing on large patches of snow."

Scottish isles in UK top ten destinations

Scotland has dominated the latest league table of the UK's top ten island destinations.

Jersey was top but Arran, Skye, Orkney, Lewis and Harris have also all been honoured in TripAdvisor's annual Travellers' Choice awards.

In the UK and Channel Isles category, Scotland scooped the most awards with Isle of Arran in fourth place, Isle of Skye fifth, Mainland Orkney sixth, Lewis and Harris in eighth place.

We have island training practices linked to our Caledonian and Rural Track programs.  Portree on Skye is linked to the Caledonian program whilst Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland all feature on our rural track program.  So why not come and train in some of the most stunning landscapes in the UK?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

2015 Round 2 Rotations Finalised

We can now confirm the rotations we are offering in round 2 of recruitment for 2015.  All our Grampian and Caledonian 3 year program slots are filled.  We do however have:-
For more details of the specific rotations please go to

Post CCT GP Fellowships

Training does not need to finish with your CCT. In Scotland we offer a number of opportunities for you to continue your career development beyond GPST.  We have mentioned the North of Scotland Career Start scheme on this blog on a number of occasions.  As well as the  Career Start scheme there is also a Scotland wide GP Fellowship scheme.  These are one-year posts in a range of locations across the country with a focus on Rural Practice, Health Inequalities, Medical Education and Occupational Medicine. These posts are recruited to each Spring, and the 2015 recruitment round opens on 2nd April 2015, with the closing date of 23rd April 2015.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Margaret McCartney: General practice is still the best job in the world

Dunnottar Castle Sunrise
It's official!  GP is still the best job in the world as stated by Margaret McCartney in her blog in last weeks BMJ.

"Despite political inference, wasteful awareness campaigns, misleading advertisements, poor evidence, and ridiculous media stories, general practice is still the best job in the world. GPs witness the life stories of individuals and families unfolding in real time."

For the full article go to

You have two days left to get your application in for GP Specialty Training.  Applications close tomorrow 9th April 2015. So why not take that all important first step towards the best job in the world? 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Challenge of Combining General Practice with Hospital Medicine

Interested in General Practice but like the challenge of some aspects of hospital medicine?
Unsure about whether to apply for a training program in GP or a Specialty?

Have you considered a post in Rural GP Training?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Round 2 Recruitment

If you were not fortunate enough to gain a place to join us in August in round 1 of recruitment, fear not, all is not lost!  Round 2 of recruitment opened yesterday on the 24th March.  At present all our Grampian and Caledonian 3 year program slots are accepted however these will not quite finalised. We do however have:-
  • 3 Grampian 4 year program posts
  • 3 Caledonian 4 year program posts
  • 9 Rural Program posts, consisting of
    • Shetland 1post
    • Orkney 2 posts
    • Western Isles 2 posts
    • Caithness 2 posts
    • Fort William 1 post
    • Oban 1 post

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Decision Day

For the those of you who have  been successful in GPST recruitment and who are currently holding on offers of posts in the North of Scotland, today is decision day.  You have till 1pm today to make that all important decision to enter GP Specialty training.

So let the sun rise on your career in general practice and accept that offer of a place in GP Specialty Training in the North of Scotland!

Some Positive Feedback

Dolphins at Aberdeen Harbour (Within the Kincorth practice area!)
Kincorth 5th year medical Student GP attachment

Here is the very positive feedback from one of our medical students on her GP placement – Kirsten is now considering GP for her speciality training.

"My GP attachment far exceeded my expectations. I was provided with numerous learning opportunities and all staff were very supportive, helpful and willing to teach. At the beginning of my attachment I expressed an interest in doing solo surgeries and was very grateful to have had the opportunity to do 113 solo consultations. Throughout the 7 weeks, I worked with a different GP or member of the health care team every session. This allowed me to observe a wide range of professionals and obtain feedback from these individuals which has been very valuable. I felt very welcomed and very much part of the practice team and I really appreciated that I was regarded as a "young professional". Whilst I was very keen to take on this role initially I did feel a little nervous. However, I was very well supported and always had opportunity to ask for help or to have a debrief discussions with doctors.

I was delighted that I had the opportunity to give 40 flu jags at the flu clinic, assist in minor surgery, assist with acupuncture and give intraarticular and subcutaneous injections. I feel a lot more confident in doing procedures that I had very little experience of before.

I have learned a great deal from my GP placement and am very grateful to have had such a well organised teaching opportunity. My main learning points were:

  • Learning how to tailor consultations and examinations to specific presentations, including ruling out sinister causes
  • Gaining experience and insight into how to deal with difficult patients. 
  • Learning about the complexity of managing diseases in the community. 
  • Gaining experience and learning how to be a member of a professional team
I am so grateful to have had such an educational GP placement, it has given me a wealth of experiences and the opportunity to be part of a team , under supervision but with my own responsibilities, has been very valuable.

Kirsten Cumming"

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Life as a Less Than Full Time Trainee in Grampian

Despite having heard of nothing but positive experiences/feed back from previous less than full time trainees (LTFTTs) it was still with some trepidation that I made the phone calls to my trainer and the deanery to tell them I was pregnant. However any anxiety I had was very quickly laid to rest when I got nothing but a positive response, everyone seemed genuinely happy for me and I was quickly and efficiently guided through the process of applying for maternity leave, less than full time training and all the other necessary bits and pieces.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Transferring Deaneries from Manchester to Grampian

I am Samantha, a GPST2 just transferred to Scotland deanery from the North West in England. I’m going to share my experience of transferring to hopefully help anyone considering applying for a transfer or coming to work in Grampian.

I’m Aberdonian, trained in Aberdeen and moved to Manchester to start my foundation training and subsequent GP training. My partner unfortunately lost his job in Manchester and found employment in the oil capital, Aberdeen. We tried long distance for a year but found it difficult personally and financially.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Work/Life Balance on the Caledonian Program

I'm a GPST2 within the Caledonian programme. After FY2 I spent 3 years out of training doing mostly A&E work in New Zealand and latterly in Elgin. The decision to come back to live and work in the Highlands was an easy one...friendly district general hospital and the opportunity to get involved in rural and pre-hospital medicine. But one of the biggest attractions was access to the outdoors. Inverness is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, forests and beautiful coastlines. For me, running is the perfect way to get out and explore.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Thirty Years on Skye!

Charles Crighton is a GP Educational Supervisor in Portree on Skye, he has been there for 30 years, here are his reasons for staying.

After 30 years, there must be a good reason for staying.... Perhaps it’s:

1. The work itself. Consider the variety, from an urban GP-type day with the fascinating spectrum of patients’ and their problems, to a ferry trip to the weekly branch surgery on the island of Raasay, to a day in the community hospital doing a ward round and attending to all sorts of clinical presentations in A&E. If I want interesting and challenging clinical work, I’ve got it here. After 30 years, you’d think I’d be bored....

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Aberdeen Is The Happiest Place In Scotland!

Aberdeen has just been revealed as one of the three happiest locations in the UK – Oxford and Reading/Bracknell were the others – and the most contented in Scotland. 

Despite its reputation as a cold, hard and dour city, Aberdeen offers rich culture, low unemployment and an enviable lifestyle, so says Kevin Mckenna in this article in the Observer .

So why not give it a try and select either the Grampian 3year program or the Grampian 4 year program when stating your preferences?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Life as a GP on Orkney

As an Orcadian I may be slightly biased in my opinion that Orkney is one of the best places in the world to live.

I moved home in 2004 mid way through my GP training. My reasons for coming home were that I wanted to become a GP, I wanted to be involved in my local community and I wanted to have children who would grow up in the same wonderful environment that I was lucky enough to experience.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Good Luck at Stage 3 Recruitment Centre!

Good luck to everyone heading for the Stage 3 Selection Centre in Edinburgh next week.  It will also be time to state your preferences for training programmes.  You can find full details of all our programmes and rotations here.

The North of Scotland programmes have scored consistently highly in the GMC Trainee survey, here are some of the highlights from the 2014 survey of trainees across the 20 regions in the UK:-
  • North of Scotland GPSTs are the second most satisfied overall with the GP component of their training - pipped at the post by SW Peninsula
  • North of Scotland GPSTs are the most satisfied overall with their educational supervision during the GP component of their training
  • North of Scotland GPSTs are the most satisfied overall with the hospital component of their training
  • North of Scotland GPSTs are the most satisfied overall with the clinical supervision during the hospital component of their training.
Take that feedback and then add in the fantastic lifestyle opportunities available across the North of Scotland and why would you want to go anywhere else?

So good luck next week and we look forward to seeing you in August!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Life as a Career Start In Grampian

"It's been a few months over 11 years since I started my adventure into the world of medicine and I am loving it more than ever!

I moved up to Aberdeen to do my GP training a little over 3 years ago and it was the best move I ever made. I have now embarked upon the first stage of my career as a fully qualified GP. That feeling of not having to do any more exams again (unless for some unknown reason I choose to) is so satisfying. The journey however, has only just begun!

RCGP Video, The Future GP

The RCGP have released this 3 minute video highlighting some of the career opportunities available to GPs and features our very own Laura Muirhead, currently ST3 and AiT rep for the North of Scotland!  The video has been featured on the BBC news website.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Rural GP Recruitment Featured on Countryfile

The issues of provision of general practice and GP recruitment in remote and rural areas was given an airing on BBC's Countryfile program this Sunday and is available on iplayer should you have missed it.

Neil Bennett, one of  our GP Educational Supervisors on the Rural Track program was interviewed. Neil is based at Taynuilt Practice near Oban , Argyll and works with trainees in the Oban based section of the Rural Program.

Also featured was David Hogg, now a GP on Arran and a graduate of the NHS Education Scotland Rural Fellowships for post CCT GPs.

So if you are interested in rural general practice there are a lot of opportunities for you in Scotland, either the rural Program for those yet to start GP training or the Rural GP Fellowships for those who have completed training.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Snowsports on Your Doorstep!

Enjoy your skiing or snowboarding?  Thinking of doing GP Training?  Why not combine the two! This is Glencoe ski area today, within an hours drive of both Oban and Fort William, both centres for our Rural GP Training program.  Alternatively you could join our Caledonian program with bases on Speyside in Aviemore and Grantown on Spey, both down the road from Cairngorm Mountain whilst the Grampian program has the Lecht and Glenshee just up the road.

You can't beat having this on your doorstep!

The Complex Balance of Life In General Practice, Family Life and Climbing

Adrian Crofton is a GP Trainer in one of our training practices in Aberdeen.  Here he talks about how he decided on a career in GP and how he now balances that career with his home life and his love of climbing in Scotland.  A lesson for us all.

"I have just completed a learning styles questionnaire - I seem to be a “trial-and-error” person to the core. For instance, I would rather disassemble a wardrobe twice than look at the instructions, or drive round a block three or four times looking for a particular street rather than use a sat-nav. This is not just bloody-mindedness, but rather it enables me to understand the structure of the wardrobe, or, in the navigation case, to really make me aware of where I am. I seem to have taken a similar approach to my career... I only truly knew I wanted to be doing something other than academic neonatology once I had tried it...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Which Specialty Will You Choose?

Deciding what area of medicine to spend your life in is not easy.  Harriet Aneke-Ogbu has been kind enough to share her experiences and explain why she has chosen to apply for GP Specialty Training this year.

"Whilst at medical school, I always wondered what a suitable career would be for me. At the time, I did not really understand the challenges with choosing a specialty and commitment to it. I believed all I had to do was find an area in medicine that intrigued me and kept me interested and just get on with it. As if it was that simple! I spent my time gaining experience abroad and in the UK, in areas of medicine I thought I would like. Firstly, oncology which I did not enjoy then gynaecology which was also a ‘no-no’. I thought cardiology was exciting, challenging and interesting. So, I did my elective on a cardiology project in America which I enjoyed but all the doctors seemed so busy. I just put it down to the American system.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Life In Fort William on the Rural Track Program

Dear FY2s,

Congratulations, you are now approaching another one of those decisive moments in your life. Your hard work over the last 7 years has rewarded you with the most precious of all things: choice. As I approach the half way mark in my training I would like to share with you my experience in the rural programme thus far; how I came to be here, what it has offered me and how it has impacted my life.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

BBC Alba Documentary on Dr Alex MacLeod

Those interested in Rural General Practice may be interested in this  BBC Gaelic TV documentary with sub titles on the life of Dr Alex MacLeod who was the GP in North Uist for 40 years during the time following the Dewar report in 1912 and the setting up of the Highlands’ and Islands Medical Service in the inter war years and onwards to the foundation of the NHS in 1948.

North of Scotland GP Training Rotations for August 2015 Now Finalised

We have now finalised the Rotations we will be offering in August 2015.  You can now view the rotations here.

So good luck in Rounds 2 & 3 of recruitment and make that really smart first step towards a career in GP in the North of Scotland by selecting our programs when you state your preferences.

We look forward to meeting you in August 2015!

North of Scotland August 2015 Rotations

GP Obstetrics in Shetland - a unique challenge

The view from Lerwick surgery!
I'm Dylan Murphy. I'm one of the few GPs still doing Obstetrics in the UK. This either means I'm mad or that remote and rural practice offers some challenges unavailable elsewhere. Hopefully it's the latter!

I came to Shetland 13 years ago and have been working as a GP here ever since. I'm also an Educational Supervisor. I wasn't drawn because of the obstetrics. I'm not a wannabe obstetrician. The practice I joined simply "did obstetrics." So I just got on with the job and found I actually liked it and was good at it. Since that time, things have changed both nationally and locally.