Vacancy: Isle of Barra (Partner)


Please note this post has now been filled.

barraThere is presently a vacancy for a full-time partner at Barra Medical Practice. We are keen to find someone who would enjoy being part of our island community, and who is able to combine excellent clinical standards with traditional patient-centred values. Whilst this can be a clinically challenging job, due to the remote rural location, it is also, for the same reason, one which is very interesting, enjoyable and rewarding and offers the opportunity to practise traditional family medicine in an extremely beautiful part of the world.

Dr Scott McMinnThe vacancy is in a 2 doctor practice serving a population of 1200 on the linked islands of Barra and Vatersay. Patient numbers swell in the summer months with holiday makers coming to enjoy the beautiful scenery, beaches, wildlife and relaxing atmosphere which the island has to offer. We are fully dispensing, have an experienced and supportive team and are paper-light, using EMIS PCS. There is scope for an incoming partner to be involved in future practice development depending on their interests and experience, for example potential involvement in the Rural Fellowship Scheme, training of medical students or a patient participation group. The practice is on call for local police work. We also carry out medical examinations for the Airport Fire Service, and have been active participants in the annual emergency exercise which takes place on the beach runway. We are also involved in providing medical support for the Barra RNLI station, which offers further scope for professional experience and development.

The practice provides medical cover for St Brendan’s, the 5-bedded Community Hospital in Castlebay, including A/E and acute admissions of patients, with subsequent inpatient care or onward transfer to the mainland. Clinical advice and backup is provided by hospital specialists on the mainland. We have a commitment to the training and Continuous Professional Development of the nursing staff.

We are presently based in Clach Mhile Surgery, Castlebay, however there are plans to create a new healthcare Hub on the island which will include a new hospital, GP surgery, care home and facilities for social services, the dental practice and visiting allied healthcare professionals. We have the opportunity to contribute to the planning and development of this facility.

We cover OOH with a rota of one week on/one week off, with time off in lieu. In practice this means working in the surgery/hospital and being ‘on call’ for a week, with every second week free of these duties. While the week ‘off’ might include some admin, meetings or practice development, this rota leads to a very healthy and enjoyable work/life balance. As patients can be seen in the surgery the same day OOH calls are not onerous and are for genuine reasons, with very few night calls. Home visits are rare as we prefer to see patients in the community hospital, where we have support from the nursing team and access to appropriate diagnostic facilities.

Barra and Vatersay are beautiful islands with a strong community ethos. It is a vibrant community with a wide age demographic and an active economy based on fishing, crofting and tourism. There are ample opportunities to become involved in island life, for example through cultural, outdoor and sporting activities, community and voluntary groups and the local Catholic and Church of Scotland churches. Gaelic is widely spoken and there is a rich musical heritage. Nursery, Primary and Secondary schooling is available on the island.  Barra can be reached by an hour’s flight from Glasgow or a five hour ferry crossing from Oban.

I am more than happy to have an informal chat about this opportunity and answer any questions you might have. It might also be possible to arrange locum spells for suitable interested doctors. Please contact Dr Scott McMinn at or by phone on 01871 810945 or 07974 839096. Tentative enquiries are very welcome.

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