There is a huge amount of variety in General Practice in Dorset. Towards the end of the ST3 year it can be very useful to spend some time in a practice that is different to your own training practice. The ST3 Programme Directors co-ordinate a programme of practice exchanges, matching up pairs of ST3 trainees who wish to trade places for a week or two.
The matches are designed to allow ST3s to experience a new computer system, a different patient demographic or a contrasting practice size or location. This can be very helpful when considering future employment choices and can reduce the stress involved in the early days of locum GP work.
All exchanges must be agreed by the GP Trainers at the respective practices and are arranged at a mutually convenient time in June or July. We encourage the Trainers at each practice to discuss the exchange with each other in advance. Potential problems can be better anticipated and information about the trainees can be shared appropriately. It is considered good practice to hold an honorary contract, signed by each trainee, to cover the duration of the exchange. Trainers and ST3s who have participated in previous years have found the experience stimulating and refreshing.
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New Zealand Opportunities
We have set up links with Gisborne and Buller in New Zealand and several GP trainees have taken advantage of this exciting out-of-programme opportunity in the last few years.
Twice a year, two ST3 trainees have the opportunity to go and spend eight months in New Zealand, with six months being spent working in hospital and/or general practice posts.
This experience gives candidates the opportunity to see and assess a different healthcare system and bring back ideas regarding delivery of care both at a patient and organisational level.
Gisborne is a particularly interesting location for this scheme. It offers a high quality of life with arguably the best weather in New Zealand, gorgeous beaches, countryside, cafés, restaurants, and vibrant social life. It also has the highest proportion of Maori of any large town in New Zealand, providing the potential for trainees to learn more about Maori culture, social and healthcare needs.
Buller is a small town on the coast north of Greymouth (on the west coast of South Island). Buller has different things to offer from Gisborne. The area is wilder, with mountainous regions just a short drive away. People in Buller are often into outdoors pursuits: Hiking (Tramping), mountain-biking, hunting, fishing, skiing, caving, etc..
Buller is more medically isolated than Gisborne. The GPs run a community hospital where many locals choose to be treated even for relatively major complaints (including treatments such as thrombolysis) so as to remain closer to family and friends. Maternity services are not provided by GPs however so you aren’t likely to be delivering babies. Very ill patients are transported out – often by helicopter. GPs also work in collaboration with the local ambulance service and are often first responders to road traffic accidents etc.. As a trainee you would not be expected to do this alone, but might choose to advance to doing so during your time if this was an area you wanted to develop.
Please see the attached job advertisement for details of our current New Zealand placements
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Dorset GP trainees are eligible to apply for 6 month ‘Improving Global Health through Leadership’ fellowships in developing countries. Recent GP trainees have undertaken projects in Cambodia and Tanzania.