The Department of Health and Social Care’s policy of training GPs on-Island is bearing fruit with the appointment of Dr Melanie Schick as a new partner at Palatine Group Practice.
Dr Schick recently completed a three-year course and is now a fully-qualified General Practitioner.
She took advantage of a programme established five years ago designed to enable the Island to address a shortage of recruits and ‘grow its own’ GPs.
Dr Schick is the first fully qualified GP to be completely trained on the Island. There are currently six trainee GPs in the Island’s GP training scheme, two of whom are expected to qualify in 2018.
Dr Schick had previously held roles at Noble’s Hospital at Foundation levels 1 and 2 before working as a doctor in orthopaedics for a year. Prior to the development of the programme, at this stage of her career she would have had to train off-Island to qualify as a GP.
The requirements of the course involve candidates spending three periods of six months in Noble’s Hospital covering specific elements of care. Dr Schick undertook studies in obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry and medicine. The remaining 18 months is used gaining experience in a GP practice.
Until this year, the DHSC was able to offer only two training practices, Palatine Group Practice, where Dr Schick undertook her placement, and Peel Medical Centre. Finch Hill, Ballasalla and Village Walk in Onchan have now been added, which means five of the Island’s 12 GP practices are able to cater for trainees.
The programme is able to accommodate two trainees each year, leading to a steady flow of GPs being trained on-Island in years to come.
Health and Social Care Minister Kate Beecroft MHK said:
‘At a time when GPs are very difficult to recruit it is crucial to recognise the importance of being able to grow our own, and celebrate that success.
‘This scheme is fully linked to the UK programme and is a great way of encouraging doctors who have already committed to our Island community to be able to remain here and complete their training as a GP.’
Dr Schick said:
‘I’ve really enjoyed the programme and have been thankful for the opportunity to be able to do all my training on-Island. Palatine has been such a supportive environment and I couldn’t think of a better place to work.
‘It is encouraging more trainees are now part of the GP training scheme and I think that this will add to the quality of the training as self-directed and peer-learning is so valuable.’
In addition to local trainees, the GP practices regularly host medical students from the UK on community work placements through a partnership between themselves, the University of Manchester and Keyll Darree Education and Training Centre at Noble’s Hospital.
Finch Hill was recently presented with a Quality Teaching Practice Gold Award from the university following feedback received by students, who praised the standard of teaching and support as well as the range of opportunities available to them.