Support for GP trainees in Northern Ireland

GP Specialty Training Department – Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA)

The problem

We recognised from talking to the current ST3 doctors and to First5 GPs in Northern Ireland (NI) that there was a desire for additional support in their first year after completing their CCT. Although the ST3 training programme specifically covers areas such as "life as a locum" and managing finances, the trainees are not utilising this information until they are working independently. This means essential information is often forgotten or they didn't know what questions to ask. In NI the majority of doctors completing training are choosing to work on a sessional basis and we are finding they are much more likely to feel isolated. 

The bright idea

An eBooklet was developed and emailed to 50 newly qualifying GPs in NI as they finished their Specialty Training Programme (40 completing training at start of August 2017 and an additional 10 who had completed training since the start of 2017 out of sync). The booklet acts as a guide to those starting independent practice with email and website links, as well as useful resources. NIMDTA have also arranged two free CPD events for October 2017 and March 2018 specific to this group with support from RCGP and BMA. The two free CPD sessions were tailored to the groups needs containing topics such as preparing for first appraisal, forming a "small group", "coaching", practice finance. This will give them a firm foundation in their first year of working independently. This eBooklet could be provided by any Deanery for their ST3s finishing training.

The impact


The eBooklet has helped to ensure that newly qualified GPs are aware of training opportunities to develop their skills (business and management rather than clinical) which improves how practices are managed.


This booklet enables us to continue to support our newly qualified GPs, continuing to keep them feeling valued in the workforce in NI. We are signposting them to all the organisations that can support them and provide valuable resources. For example, newly qualified GPs know who to contact if they are feeling stressed adding to the resilience of the workforce. We have helped to develop the skills needed for partnership or salaried opportunities to ensure they are aware of all options available and have the skills to proceed. The two events helped doctors better understand the external organisations that can help and support them as they address the challenges of being a 21st century GP.

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