Major step forward for rural GP CPD in Scotland is pleased to learn that RRHEAL is set to pilot a Scotland-wide virtual education network from September.

The Rural GP VC Education network has been established by RRHEAL to share good practice and CPD opportunities amongst remote and rural practitioners in Scotland. It will deliver an initial series of three clinical meet-up sessions using video conference and Jabber to enable a wide range of participants to join from remote, rural and island locations.

The sessions have been designed to focus on selected “hot topics in rural practice” enabling rural practitioners to link up, share evidence based presentations, facilitated discussion and consider applications to clinical practice.  The first three sessions will focus on Major Trauma, Acute Coronary Syndrome and Suicide Prevention/Mental Health – with further details to follow and to be tailored to the requests of those involved.

The sessions will be available by a VC link from 12.30pm to 2.00pm on the last Tuesday of the month every 2 months with dates as follows:

  • Tuesday 29 September, Dental Lecture Theatre, Centre for Health Science
  • Tuesday 24 November, NES Boardroom, Centre for Health Science
  • Tuesday 25 January 2016, NES Boardroom, Centre for Health Science

More information can be found here or by contacting

Add these dates to your diary and share with colleagues.  You can also visit the NHS Scotland National Videoconference Service for information on how to easily link in to these – and other – videoconferenced events.  We hope to run an article on this at in the near future too.

Tip! If you want to link into these meetings via your laptop, iPad or home PC, take a look at the information on the NHS Scotland VC pages about Jabber – which allows you to connect to the NHS Scotland VC network from nearly any internet-connected device. More details available from this page or the ever-helpful support team.

This pilot originated from a discussion with Bruce Chater, a rural GP in Australia who I met at the WONCA Rural Health Conference held in Dubrovnik in April – for which my attendance was supported by RCGP Scotland.  Bruce highlighted the opportunities available from videoconferencing to establish managed educational and clinical networks between rural practitioners.  I’m grateful to Pam Nicoll and Ronald MacVicar, and subsequently NHS Education for Scotland and RRHEAL for taking the idea forward and through to this pilot stage.

The longer term aim is that we see improved (and more consistent) levels of VC literacy across rural Scotland as the technology and reliable broadband speeds are increasingly available to us all to share good practice and great ideas.  BASICS Scotland and EMRS have also stimulated lots of work in this area, and hopefully this will be another useful means by which we can reduce professional and geographical isolation – rural practice is full of innovation and good ideas.

The following video went viral last year, and encapsulates lots of the points that we want to avoid by improved use of virtual conferencing by phone or video… enjoy if you haven’t already seen it!

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