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.

The last 10 years have been eventful; I finished my training, became a Partner at Skerryvore and went on to become an educational supervisor. I also managed to get married and have three children.

Skerryvore has always had a strong training ethos with the first GP registrar starting in 1989, Dr Steven Beaven was a trainer for 18 years, 4 of his trainees myself included went on to become GPs in Orkney. Myself and Dr Iain Craighead had our first ST3 in 2010 and all four of our ST3 are still working at Skerryvore currently. You can check out skerryvore’s training history at

General practice has changed a lot in the last decade, OOH, QOF, and the nMRCGP to name a few things. Every year there seems to be a new target or more paperwork and staying up to date is a constant struggle. However the grass routes of good communication skills and patient centred care has not changed and continue to make our job a very rewarding one. The complexity and intensity of our work however can be challenging and that’s why a work life balance is so important.

That’s where living in Orkney helps; our beautiful scenery, numerous active sports clubs, active drama scene and the flourishing traditional music scene help ensure there is always plenty to do all year round.

So did I meet my objectives by moving home? Well I am a GP and I even get to help other young doctors discover the rewards and challenges of choosing General practice. I am very involved in my local community I am currently the Orkney West Mainland Agricultural Society president, member of the Merry Dancers a local charity fundraising group. I attend the local toddler group and book group and I ran the Hoy Half Marathon for the first time this year. So yes I feel very much part of the community. But best of all I am watching my children grow up in a safe and wonderful community with good schools and numerous extra-curricular activities. Would I want to live and work anywhere else? No I’m good thanks.

Sarah Stevenson

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