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.
My post consists of two days per week at Turriff Medical Centre, a rural practice with adjoining community hospital and casualty/minor injuries unit. My speciality rotation is ‘Unscheduled care’, meaning I work sessions in A&E at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, rotating through the majors department, minor injuries unit and paediatric A&E, depending on staff cover. There is also a weekly GMED commitment which can be completed in any of the centres within Aberdeenshire, depending on preference.

The main plus-point for me about Career Start is the flexibility: I was able to specify the number of sessions I wished to work, and organise my weekly rota within the various different areas to suit me. As a result it allows a good work-life balance; both annual leave and study leave are straightforward to organise, and GMED sessions can be grouped together if required e.g. one 12-hour session every 3-weeks as opposed to 4-hours weekly.

Another positive has been gaining an insight into a different GP practice to the one in which I trained, which was a City surgery in Aberdeen. Being based rurally is a different experience entirely, as it often requires more lateral thinking to overcome logistical issues, and in my opinion necessitates more holistic patient care. The Duty doctor sessions can also be a bit more varied, as you can be called to respond to emergency incidents and road traffic collisions on behalf of the ambulance service, on top of the usual list of house calls and on-the-day appointments.

The Career start programme has also given me time to develop new skills within my areas of interest, and become more competent in the assessment of unwell patients & minor injuries presentations, which will undoubtedly be useful to me in the future within General practice.

I would recommend the career start programme to anybody who is uncertain about what particular path they wish their GP career to take, as it allows exploration of interests and the opportunity to experience different areas of practice, within a supportive environment. It is also a great opportunity after GP training to gain confidence, and expand knowledge prior to the commitment of a 'full time' GP post

Grampian has been running this highly successful, innovative scheme since 2005. The aim of the scheme is to allow newly qualified GPs the opportunity to develop a specialist interest such as palliative care, undergrad teaching, orthopaedics or A&E /unscheduled care. These can be full-time or part time and been very popular.

We will be advertising more of these posts later in the year but if you wish to know more email

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