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 PBSGLAdministrator.North_PO.SCPMDE@nes.scot.nhs.uk. 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.
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 www.e-GP.org). 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.
Dr Malcolm Ward, Chair of the RCGP Rural Forum, has just returned from the Annual Rural Doctors’ Conference in Gregynog, Wales. He sends this report…
Thanks to Montgomeryshire Medical Society and the Institute of Rural Health, Gregynog Hall has been host to the Annual Rural Doctors’ conference since 1990. It was the first time I have attended having been invited to speak on behalf of the new RCGP Rural Forum. I gave a presentation on Revalidation and a brief update on dispensing, all the more brief because I over ran on Revalidation! The most important message to Welsh dispensing doctors was, and is to ensure they get their dispensing premises registered as required by the new Welsh NHS pharmaceutical regulations which were laid before the Assembly 17.7.09.
The 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.
If 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.