Archive | Revalidation

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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3rd UK National Conference on Rural Practice

Rural Forum LogoDetails have been released about the 3rd UK National Conference on Rural Practice – to be held on Friday 2nd May 2014 in Manchester.

Organised by the RCGP Rural Forum, the event covers a range of topical issues relevant to rural practice today – from paediatric emergency care (including Drs James West and Hal Maxwell), to recruitment & retention and the challenges of maintaining financial viability in remote & rural practice.

Professor Mike Pringle, President of the RCGP, will discuss his views and the future view of rural practice within the RCGP, and college First5 Lead Dr Phil Williams will give an update on what services and support is being made available to members within their 5 five years of qualifying as GPs.

As parallel session will be run throughout the day – looking at Social Media and how to join the growing trend of using services such as Twitter to keep abreast of CPD updates, useful clinical information and sharing views with others across the globe.

For the full programme and registration details, you can download the form here or go direct to the RCGP Bookings site.

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Raby Radiology Survival Course

Used under creative commons licence of Herbert

Used under creative commons licence of Herbert

Looking for a relevant, concise and effective refresher course in radiology?  Nigel Raby, consultant radiologist in Glasgow, has been running his X-ray Survival Course for several years now, and provided hundreds of new A&E doctors with the specific advice required not to miss the important bits of hand, foot, ankle, knee and other common xrays found in the emergency setting.

Rural GPs who work in community hospitals will also find this course useful.  Whether it’s remembering how to interpret a 6 year old’s elbow xray (remember CRITOL?), or knowing how to detect the more subtle changes associated with tibial plateau fractures, the course provides all this instruction in one compact day – and at good value.

Full details are on the Raby X-Ray Survival Course website.  There is an associated book which is found in many A&Es across Scotland, and a new edition is due out later next year (current supplies are very limited).

I did the course as an A&E SHO 5 years ago, and returned to Glasgow to repeat the course last month.  I’m under no sponsorship or commission (!) but would highly recommend the course to anyone who needs a no-nonsense, professionally delivered, rapid-fire refresher training to keep competencies and professional confidence at a satisfactory level.

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Poster: Rural GP Training

Developing a skillbase appropriate to the rural and community hospital setting is a hot topic, surrounded by issues of recruitment, retention and revalidation.    This poster from RRHEAL and NHS Education for Scotland looks at the components that are important to consider, and how they might be delivered in the context of a rural GP training programme.

Education and training needs vary depending on the situation of different rural hospitals, but a common theme was the skill set required to deal with unsorted emergency presentations within rural “No Bypass Units”.

You can download the poster by clicking below.

Click to download PDF poster.

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Clinical Skills – recommendations from NES

nesmcnNHS Education for Scotland operates a Managed Educational Network, which incorporates the mobile Clinical Skills Unit.  The unit offers an advanced simulation resource for rural areas in Scotland, and they have just published a report which aims to develop simulation and other clinical skills facilities across Scotland.

The report makes the point that national strategy and resource needs to be matched with local implementation, with each area’s needs being met flexibly.

The following key recommendations are made:

  1. Reconfigure education and training in each health board region to link safe skill practice development with service organisation and workforce development
  2. Embed use of simulation to develop high quality as norm of practice
  3. Capture examples of good skills practice for dissemination through the CS MEN
  4. Provide evidence of completion of a QA self‐reporting process for clinical skills education as statutory requirement by health boards to promote flexibility of movement of staff
  5. Establish clear leads for clinical skills and patient safety education from health board executive level to ward level
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PBSG what?

There seems to be two types of Scottish GP at the moment, those who are doing Practice Based Small Group Learning and those who are likely to be soon.  The initiative, supported by NES (NHS Education for Scotland) involves small groups of GPs, Registrars and Practice Nurses getting together to do some scenario-based learning, on topics as diverse as “Family Physician Stress” to “Chronic Kidney Disease” to “ADHD”.

The idea was brought across from McMaster University, where our Canadian GP colleagues have been using this style of learning for some time.  They’ve developed a vast range of scenario-based modules, and from humble beginnings, there are now waves of Scottish GPs signing up to be involved.  Importantly, more and more of the Canadian-written modules are being “tartanised”, so that acetaminophen reads paracetamol, and the dynamics of Scottish/UK general practice are more accurately portrayed in the cases for discussion.

I recently attended Facilitator Training for the PBSGL programme, and came away enthused and keen to promote the idea to others. There has been a particularly strong appetite for PBSGL in the North Scotland, and consequently several groups of rural practitioners have set up virtual groups. These been held by using teleconference, Skype and other online services, with varied degrees of success.  Of course, half the fun of taking part in PBSGL is meeting colleagues face-to-face: this is best done by physical meetings but for some rural practitioners this isn’t possible.  For these situations, there is huge potential to enable rural practitioners to link up (including via occasional physical meetings too), to allow collaborative practice and reduce the professional isolation that so often faces colleages in these areas.

If you work in Scotland and are keen to find out more, have a look at the PBSGL website or contact  There is likely to be a group near you, and if not, you may wish to set up your own group after a bit of facilitator training (which I can vouch is interesting, fun and not intimidating).  If you’re elsewhere in the UK – watch this space, as it may well be coming your direction sometime in the future

Finally, if you’re interested in taking part in virtual meetings – for which you’ll need a microphone & speakers (preferably as a headset) plus webcam – please get in touch with us here at RuralGP Blog so that we can keep you updated with progress.

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eLearning for Rural Practice

Recently I took part in a teleconference with Malcolm Ward, RCGP Chair of the Rural Form, and Ben Riley, Medical Director for eLearning at the RCGP, to discuss ways of improving access to online CPD to rural practitioners.

There is a lot happening to make more online learning accessible to medical practitioners, particularly as the use of online educational modules is increasingly encouraged to support preparation for appraisal and revalidation.  This is reflected in the scale of work happening under the umbrella of the Department of Health’s “E-Learning for Healthcare” programme (see  Royal Colleges of most specialties are investing heavily to offer their members access to accredited and relevant updates.

The RCGP has a number of ongoing projects, but central to revalidation are the Essential Knowledge Updates which some members may already be familiar with.  These aim to provide RCGP members with a 6-monthly update of the most pertinent changes in practice, via an online learning module.

However, through various conversations, the RCGP Rural Forum is acutely aware that some remote and rural practitioners experience significant difficulty in accessing online content, especially due to slow internet connections.  Judging from recent comments from the telecommunications industry, this is unlikely to change overnight.  And so, if too much reliance is placed on high-bandwidth video and media content for eLearning, this could prevent many of our rural colleagues from accessing this core resource.

What’s the answer?  We’d like to invite ideas!  The Rural Forum is looking into ways of signposting rural practitioners to particular modules of interest, and this could include an indicator of how fast your connection needs to be for certain modules.  We are also looking into other ways of providing access to elearning resources – perhaps via CD-Rom or memory stick.  This is work in progress.

In the meantime we would like to invite your comments, not least to understand the scale of the problem.  If you’re a rural GP and concerned about access to these resources – please get in touch, and contribute to our online poll on this issue – available shortly.

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Conference Focus: Clinical Skills Unit

skillunit3The Rural Forum are pleased to confirm that the Clinical Skills Unit will be in attendance at the RCGP Annual Conference, in Glasgow on November 5th-7th.  The unit comes in the form of an articulated lorry, containing a clinical environment where resuscitation and surgical procedures can be practised.


It carries an impressive range of simulation models, which can be controlled by a team concealed within a separate room, allowing adult and paediatric resuscitation scenarios to be played with maximum realism.  Models are available for CV and arterial line insertion.  Procedures such as cannulation, chest drain insertion and intubation are possible too.


The Unit, funded by NES (NHS Education Scotland) has already embarked on a tour of Scotland, with further dates and venues planned for the next few months, details of which are available from the website.  The Unit is a 2-year pilot project funded by NES – if you want to take a look, and think about booking a visit for your area, watch out for it at the conference.

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e-GP: online learning for GPs

egpIf you haven’t already visited the new e-GP online learning site, this one’s well worth bookmarking.

Shaped around the ever-evolving RCGP Curriculum, the site has been developed by the Department of Health and RCGP.  Over the next two years, more and more content will be added – and the uniqe aspect of this resource is that modules are written by practising GPs, exclusively targetted at present and future GPs.

As well as being a resource for GPs in training, its content is also aimed at qualified GPs to facilitate continuing professional development, in particular for revalidation purposes.

The RCGP Rural Forum is keen to identify which rural topics might be considered for inclusion on the e-GP site.  If you have any ideas (or indeed are interested in helping to develop these) please get in touch.  Ideas so far include rural occupational medicine and emergency care.

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Revalidation for Rural Practitioners

reval_guideThe RCGP have just released their Guide to the Revalidation of General Practitioners. It’s a must-read given that the GMC plans to phase in its strategy for relicensing and revalidation in 2009.  Whilst the document itself doesn’t specifically address issues of revalidation in rural/remote practice, there is work going on – including within the RCGP Rural Forum – to represent these concerns at national level.


We’ll report on the key updates, including any opportunities to get involved with the Rural Forum’s work on this.  Meantime, the NHS Revalidation Support Team is worth looking at.  If you’re keen to contribute to the process, contact us at and we can put you in touch with the relevant people.


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