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Medical students start Highland placements

By Calum MacLeod

The medical students (centre) join Centre for Health Science staff at the start of their Highland placement.
The medical students (centre) join Centre for Health Science staff at the start of their Highland placement.

STUDENTS from an innovative medical course have begun a six-week placement in the Highlands to help broaden their medical experience.

The 13 students from the Scottish Graduate Entry Medicine (ScotGEM) programme are in their second year of training as doctors.

They will spend one day a week at medical practices in Inverness and Nairn, attend clinical skills sessions at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness and make regular visits to Raigmore Hospital, helping them to develop skills in areas including midwifery, obstetrics and paediatrics.

Launched last year, ScotGEM is Scotland’s first postgraduate entry, undergraduate medical course for doctors and has a focus on producing new doctors for remote and rural locations. The course is being delivered through a partnership between the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee, in collaboration with the University of the Highlands and Islands and NHS Highland and its counterparts in Fife, Tayside and Dumfries and Galloway.

Professor Crichton Lang, interim principal and vice-chancellor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first cohort of students to our region. We will be supporting this initiative to bring more trainee doctors into our remote and rural communities in a number of ways. We very much hope that through their positive experiences as students they will be encouraged to practice in our region when they qualify.”

Students who progress into the third year of the ScotGEM course will have the opportunity to undertake 10-month placements in general practice across the region, including placements in Lochgilphead, Lochinver, Caithness and the Black Isle.

Raigmore consultant Dr Claire Vincent, the NHS Highland lead for ScotGEM, said: “We look forward to developing this further as the course progresses with more immersive rural placements in the community.”

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