Wednesday, 7 October 2015

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.

Professionally, I was somewhat daunted by the idea of returning to general practice in a new area, in a new country, with different systems and procedures, including a new computer system. I was concerned about being out of the ‘loop’ and being new to everything and everyone. I was also concerned that post first baby, it might take me a while to get myself up and running and regain my professional confidence.

However, I needn't have worried. After making inquiries about the various routes back into work, I was kindly taken under the wing of a wonderful local GP practice and spent some sessions there familiarizing myself with all that was new. The members of the team were welcoming and supportive and very generous with their time. My GP mentor in particular was a huge help and with his support, it did not take long for me to feel back in competent GP mode.

Again, with his support, I was able to secure offers of locum work in a number of local practices, and thus far, have been doing the kind of work that enticed me into general practice in the first place. I see a wide spectrum of patients presenting with a whole range of issues and am finding the work both interesting and challenging. There are also plenty of opportunities for me in due course, to develop my particular interests which will be useful when I return to more permanent work. Almost immediately, I was invited to join a GP locum group, so now I have support in and outside my current practice, and I am looking forward to my first residential in September for the professional learning and to meet other newly qualified GPs.

I would certainly recommend general practice in Aberdeenshire as a good way of practicing medicine. The practices can have such large catchment areas that one can encounter a wide range of patients and a wide range of problems which makes the nature of the job so much more interesting. It definitely keeps you on your toes but it is very rewarding and job satisfaction is high. GPWSIs are heavily supported and there is a career start scheme in place to help new doctors train in a specialty post qualification.

Aberdeen itself is turning out to be a great place to work and live. The people are very friendly (I can even understand the accent), and from knowing no one when I first arrived, I have now made good friends with other new mums and other new doctors. The city has a lot to offer those culturally inclined with plenty for those interested in the Arts and is surrounded by countryside which, in places, is simply breathtaking. There is a very healthy balance to city/country life. For those who love outdoor pursuits then Aberdeenshire is heavenly….running, hiking, biking, camping…….in the luscious green of the countryside or along the beautiful coast line. The beaches are fantastic and the walks, very bracing. Even the weather has been better than expected. Yes, the winter days are short but, truthfully, not with the extremes of temperature I had feared and the summer days are very long indeed with plenty of opportunity to enjoy the late evening light. Our recent camping trip to the north coast took advantage of this. A trip to the west coast is next on the cards. I’m told the journey itself is spectacular.

I am only at the start of my life in Scotland but very excited about what is yet to come. I would highly recommend this way of life to any newly qualified GPs or just those who fancy a change and are up for a new adventure!

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