Dolphin House Surgery has been a Training Practice since 1997 and is accredited to train doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical students.
For a GP to be a trainer they must attend a teacher training course and be a member of the Royal College of GPs. Our two full trainers are Dr Ruth Morgan and Dr Fingal O’Reilly, while Dr Laura King and Dr Cam Arul are our current associate trainers. The trainers and the Practice are visited regularly to check on the quality of care and teaching by a team from the Eastern Deanery in Cambridge. At our last inspection the Practice was accredited for 5 years (the maximum).
The most common grade of GP in training is the GP Registrar (ST3 doctor) who is a fully qualified doctor with several years of hospital experience. They have 12-18 months in general practice so they can learn to apply their knowledge in a community setting and be assessed, pass assignments and examinations before gaining their certificates to be a GP. We also regularly have ST2 doctors, who are a year behind the registrars and spend four months with us, before going back into hospital medicine for the rest of the year and then starting their final registrar post. ST1 doctors are less frequent but can spend four months with us and are in their first year of general practice training.
We are also signed up to teach medical students and take them from The Royal Free and University College Hospitals and Cambridge (Addenbrookes) and you may find that during some surgeries you might be asked if one of them sits in with your consultation or occasionally consults with you first before you then see the doctor. This is always with your permission in advance! Dr King is in charge of them and if you have any questions, please contact the practice.
Sometimes, GP learner consultations may be videoed or a trainer may sit in to observe. You will always be asked for permission and can refuse at any stage or change your mind during the consultation without it affecting your care. Written consent is obtained for videos.
Many people would prefer to see their favourite doctor each time, if possible, but we feel very positively about our commitment to training the doctors of tomorrow and acknowledge that this will mean that patients will sometimes be treated by our trainee GPs. However, all learners can only see patients according to their abilities and cases are discussed at the time or at the end of each surgery. The Surgery and trainers have to keep very up to date with changes in the world of medicine in order to train and this is to everyone’s benefit in the long run.
We also take student nurses from the University of Hertfordshire and Sister Lorraine Paget is their main mentor. As a training practice we are occasionally asked to support other health care professionals such as paramedics, physician associates and pharmacists. You will always be advised if any of them are working with us and you do have the right to refuse them if you so wish. We are also a ‘Research Ready Practice’ which means from time to time we participate in research projects for various universities or institutes.
All of this, we feel, helps to keep the Practice at the cutting edge of general practice and primary care and helps to keep Dolphin House moving forward and with new roles constantly being developed in primary care to be, hopefully, ahead of the game.