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Independents' Day

You've got Aberdeen Medical School all wrong

From Dr Fiona Garton, head of GP teaching, University of Aberdeen

I feel compelled to respond to the negative feedback from a student on our course (‘The more I learn about general practice, the worse it looks’,

This article was based on one student’s opinions of a course for more than 500 students. He mentions our years one to three foundation of primary care course, which is not designed to teach general practice but provides a grounding in many other areas of medicine. General practice teaching starts in year four.

To say we stereotype general practice as the image of ‘Martin Clunes slurping tea’ when he has not yet experienced any placements is frankly flawed.

And to counter the comment ‘general practice lacks glamour’, we offer a unique remote and rural programme for a group of year four students, giving them an opportunity to learn winter mountain skills and pre-hospital treatment.

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Readers' comments (9)

  • None the less, as a GP of 25yrs and undergraduate trainer I am afraid most of what he said in that article is true and I am struggling to sell GP life to my students.

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  • His article stands and I would echo the sentiments above

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  • Thanks to the Jeremies at the daily mail the status of GP s is pitifully low .

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  • As a graduate of Aberdeen I found the teaching excellent and General Practice fulfilling . I graduated in 1981 . How times have changed . We need to acknowledge the fall in popularity and seek changes in the contract to make it popular again. It is the patient who will lose out if primary care is lost.

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  • The article was spot on.You hated it because it didn't conform to the sanctimonius claptrap coming from the RCGP.Don't shoot the messenger.Put your own house in order!

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  • One only has to look at the number of applauding comments to the original article from experienced GP's to realise the writer is 100% correct about the current state of GP.He should be awarded an honorary degree for his bravery and candour.

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  • God we're a load of moaning apathetic morons aren't we? Fiona Garton is right when she says this lad shouldn't judge GP when he hasn't experienced it. Students are definitely prejudiced against GP by the hospitals. We know they describe us as "failed hospital doctors". Some are, some aren't - I went to uni with the express intent of being a GP. What could be duller than seeing the same thing all day every day, whether it is hearts or headaches or bumholes? I need variety.

    Declaration of interest: my practice receives University of Aberdeen 4th year students, and as their tutor I have noticed that in more than 50% of cases, there is an enormous change in their attitude from the beginning of the practice to the end of it. They come with a "dunno" shrug when you ask them what career they intend, and they almost always leave saying they have hugely enjoyed it, and frequently saying they want to do it for a living.

    The major problem is ignorant hospital consultants bad-mouthing us behind our backs. Hypocrites that they are - how "out of his depth" would an othopaedic surgeon be with a patient with diabetes? Or respiratory consultant for a patient with menorrhagia?

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  • I think there may be a generational issue here, obviously some older GP's have chips on their shoulders about being thought as 'failed hospital docs'.

    Most GP's coming through over the last 10 years have no such worries. Many made choices with a clear perspective. Of course there are those who have snobbish attitude, but hardly grown up us it?

    But young GP's do have very clear attitudes to the debts they have and what is being asked of them. They are aware of the burdens of risk and would rather be in the safer and easier world of hospitals.

    Until those fundamentals are dealt with GP recruitment will continue to fall.

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  • I think the GP registrar above is quite correct. The underlying problem is the (rightly) perceived risk associated with working in primary care.

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