Experiences of our Registrar - Jo Raikes

GP training scheme: ST1 placement at Stowhealth

I am currently a trainee in my first year of the Bury St. Edmunds GP training programme, and as I come to the end of my first six month placement I have been asked to reflect upon my time in General Practice.  I would strongly recommend applying to train at Stowhealth during the ST1 or ST3 year and I will outline just some of the benefits below.

An opportunity to work in an innovative, dynamic practice

Stowhealth is a large, forward thinking practice with the ambition of providing a high quality of care to patients.  They employ a telephone triage system that enables patients to be seen on the day and by their own doctor.  The role of triage is increasingly important and exposure to the system during training is likely to stand you in good stead for the future.  The facilities and services at the practice are extensive, for example there are specialist consultant clinics (e.g. Cardiology, Dermato logy and ENT), which you will have the opportunity to attend. 

A supportive environment

There is an ‘open door’ policy at Stowhealth which encourages a supportive learning environment.  I have found all of the GPs to be very approachable and very willing to discuss difficult cases or management decisions.  I felt that I was encouraged to push myself, but was never left in a situation where I felt out of my depth.  Regular high quality teaching sessions were scheduled with my clinical tutor, which I found extremely useful.

Teaching and Research

The team at Stowhealth is heavily involved in teaching. This ranges from first year medical students, to FY2s through to final year GP trainees.  If you have an interest in developing these areas of your portfolio there are multiple opportunities to get involved

A healthy place to work

Allactive’ is a purpose built gym located within the practice building, and members of staff are able to use the facilities at a reduced rate.  Unfortunately I didn’t ever make it up there myself, but those with a higher level of self-motivation will no doubt enjoy it!  In addition fresh fruit is provided in the staff room, and there is delicious filter coffee every morning.

The Stowhealth Team

The management at Stowhealth have built up a talented and enthusiastic team who create a relaxed and happy atmosphere.  The practice is friendly, welcoming and inclusive.  I was lucky enough to attend the excellent staff Christmas party which was a great chance for everyone to let their hair down after a busy and productive year.

In summary, I truly believe that Stowhealth is a fantastic place to undertake GP training.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the practice and will be very sad to leave.