A GROUP of medical students have arrived in the region as part of a training initiative aimed at addressing shortages of GPs in rural areas.
Dumfries and Galloway is one of four participating NHS boards in the ScotGEM initiative, and on Monday welcomed its first 11 students at a special reception held in the Education Centre at DGRI.
New Galloway GP and Director of Medical Education for ScotGEM Fiona Graham said: “We were delighted and very excited to welcome the first cohort of 11 students who are set to study here in Dumfries and Galloway as part of the ScotGEM programme.
“The programme launched last year, offering graduates the chance to train in medicine. These students are some of the first intake who completed their first year of training at University of St Andrews and are now going out to train in rural settings.
“These medical students could go on to a variety of possible disciplines, such as medicine, surgery or paediatrics, but the establishment of ScotGEM was inspired with a particular eye to the national shortage of General Practitioners which is a shortage felt all the more acutely in rural regions such as ours.
“We will be providing an excellent learning environment for these students under the lead of two local GPs, and it is our hope that through their time working with medical staff in Dumfries and Galloway they might see this as a good place to come and work when they qualify.”
A total of 54 ScotGEM have completed their first year of studies, and will now continue their training at locations in Dumfries and Galloway, Highland and Fife in six week blocks across the year.
Next year, a further 16 students are scheduled to spend the entirety of their third year in Dumfries and Galloway as they undertake a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) year, a novel GP-based approach to medical training. NHS Dumfries and Galloway has been part of a pilot project for the LIC, for the past three years, hosting six students from Dundee University across the region in the year 2018-19.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace attended the social event at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary on Monday, welcoming the students to the region.
Mr Ace said: “It’s been fantastic to meet the ScotGEM students and to see their obvious enthusiasm for medicine.
“We’re thrilled to be playing an important part in the ScotGEM initiative which represents a very significant development in training doctors, and which could deliver a real recruitment boost to rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway.”