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An incalculable loss to our profession

Dr Geoffrey Norris assesses the effect of Government plans to radically redraw GP educational structures

As I reflect on my career in primary care, learning and teaching is the recurring theme.

If you engage in one, inevitably to a greater or lesser degree, you engage in both. When you learn, you share your new knowledge. When you teach, your learning is enhanced. It's the variety of learning and teaching that fascinates me.

For instance, I recall a one-to-one with a senior educationalist when I was a new trainer. We discussed knowledge, skills and attitudes; a very popular phrase. We focused on the importance of attitudes, how to teach and how to record progress. That conversation facilitated me considerably.

Everything I learnt about education was from both the formal and the networking, which were not-to-be missed events. I also recall a small group meeting to discuss appraisals of course organisers and how they should be introduced, many years before appraisals were established throughout our profession.

Recently, I have participated in courses for international medical graduates and refugee doctors wanting to work in the NHS. It was a steep learning curve to work with qualified lecturers from outside medicine, but their insights and methods have changed me. I was privileged to meet colleagues from all over the world, assessing their educational needs and attempting to meet these, but also gaining from their insights.

Much of my work in the latter years has been on a one-to-one basis, helping colleagues with difficulties. This past month I attended a meeting run by experts in listening and communication skills, whose methods and learning-centred approach and academic transparency was an inspiration. The advanced appraisal and strengthened appraisal workshops moved us towards revalidation.

For all of this, the organisation I am indebted to is the London Deanery. If this and other deaneries were melted down and their knowledge and expertise dispersed who would provide the above and more? If our deaneries are disbanded and cease to exist as an entity, the loss to our profession would be incalculable.

Dr Geoffrey Norris is a GP in Waltham Forest and deanery mentor at the London Deanery

Dr Geoff Norris


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