GP+ Networking can help doctors make informed career choices and consider GPwSI

GP+ Networking ProfileI am a GP principle working out of Bridgwater, Somerset. I am Somerset born and bred. I studied in London a GKT qualifying in 2002.

Very early on in my training I decided I wanted to be a GP. I was very much attracted to the opportunity to work with a population of patients over many years, getting to know them and be able to walk through life’s challenges with them. I like the wide variety of opportunities offered in a career as a GP and particularly wanted to focus on taking a ‘whole person’ approach to delivering good health care. With this motivation, I went straight from my house jobs to GP training in Somerset.

I have been a GP Principle since 2006. Within weeks of starting in my practice, we were being asked to consider our involvement in Practice Based Commissioning. Heralded as the future of General practice, PBC soon came and went. And in many ways this has been the pattern of life working in the Health services. New pressures bring new challenges and demand answers. Whilst this can at times be disheartening, it can also make for a very exciting carer. Leadership opportunities exist for people who want invest time and energy into making the NHS fit for purpose in the 21st century.

After 3 years working as a GP, I took on the challenge of studying to gain further qualifications in Dermatology. This was afforded through the Diploma in Practical Dermatology course at Cardiff University and led to the accreditation process to work as a GPwSI in dermatology.

The pathway towards accreditation was not straightforward. Although guidelines are available and a curriculum of sorts can help focus learning, as so few take this route, there remains great variance in what actually should be done to demonstrate an adequate skill set. Which course demonstrates adequate surgical skills? Is the RCGP course adequate? Are further skills needed? What constitutes an adequate log book? How do you achieve the 50 sessions of supervision? Who pays for your time out of practices? There were no clear answers to these questions. The hope is this website will help plough a clear line through to accreditation.

I now work 6 sessions a week running a primary care dermatology clinic. The clinic has been designed to be paper free and runs entirely on the EMIS system. All referrals are received and processed digitally. All clinic notes are recorded digitally. All investigations requested, processed and actioned digitally. All clinical letters are created using templates and protocols within the EMIS system so that before the patient has left the room, the letter to the GP is on its way. Additional admin time is minimal. IT is the key to producing efficiency in the NHS and we believe that we have demonstrated this in our practice.

As such, my other passion in the NHS is working with our current IT systems and making the most of the functions they offer to bring about efficient and safe working. IT has a great role in supportive education for doctors and embedding education tips within the framework of a consultation template has been beneficial. I am currently working to expand this tool in our county.

Jon Upton

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