By placing fellows in the right environment, they have thrived in their assorted roles and many continue to work in Mid and West Wales after completing their Fellowship. This benefits local communities and provides greater stability to General Practice in the regions. Recent agreement to expand the scheme will serve to improve this further, so that we can create a true ‘community of practice’ that attracts more future GPs to Wales as an excellent place to develop a fulfilling career.
The AF Scheme is a two-year programme run in Mid and West Wales. It was implemented with four aims:
- Encourage academic GP practice
- Increase recruitment of GPs to rural Wales
- Give pressurised primary care service providers in areas of rurality or need, the opportunity to engage in personal and practice development
- Increase the retention of GPs at the end of the scheme
To date it has been successful in these aims. Seven (100%) Academic Fellows have completed the programme to date. Two have taken up GP Partnership sin practices where they were placed as Fellows and have stabilised these GP surgeries in rural West Wales. Four continue to work as salaried, sessional, Out Of Hours or Urgent Primary Care Centre GPs in South Wales. All six contribute to medical education in the region at University or Health Board level. The final Fellow has taken up a research position at Oxford University.
A wide range of projects have been pursued by Fellows during their time in practice and this has enhanced patient care above and beyond the core work delivered by the practice. Examples include: the development of an SBAR style communication handover tool between a local care home and the GP practice; the development a frailty template to support the practice to identify patients with moderate - severe frailty; lifestyle medicine group consultations with patients; the evaluation of a new telephone triage system at a practice.
As passionate and vocational GPs, the Fellows have been an inspiration to medical students and have helped to showcase General Practice as a career. We anticipate this will lead to more students contemplating a career in Wales and in General Practice in the future and support the expansion of graduate entry medicine in West Wales.
If you are a GP interested in applying to become an Academic Fellow or you represent a practice which may like to host an Academic Fellow, we would love to hear from you.CONTACT US