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Mid-West Specialist Training Scheme in General Practice

24 September 2020
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Director: Dr Michael Griffin
Assistant Programme Directors: Dr Ray O'Connor, Dr Blaithin Tuohy, Ms Maria Leahy, Dr Agnes Kelly, Dr Johnny Loughnane
Programme Administrator: Ms Tina Carroll
Address: Mid-West Specialist Training Programme in GP, GEMS1-019, Graduate Entry Medical School, Faculty of Education & Health Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick 
Tel: 061 213485, Fax: 061 339837

About the scheme

The aim of the programme is to provide an optimal environment for personal and professional growth for the trainee and enable them to:

  • Be eligible to enrol on the Specialist Division of the Register in General Practice.
  • Pratice life-long learning to maintain them in their career as general practitioners.
  • Promote self-awareness and how it affects doctor-patient, personal and professional relationships.
  • Practice critical evaluation, auditing and carrying out research.

The basic aim is to enable doctors, at the end of their training, to function independently as competent family doctors within the health care system and to be aware of their own changing personal, educational and developmental needs in order to be able to meet them.

In order to promote life-long learning, an interactive teaching model, with a strong emphasis on self-study in order to stimulate the trainee's creativity, is used. Within the small group work, the trainee learns teamwork, how to keep secrets and how to accept changing truths. Through the 'human doctor' programme, he/she develops counselling skills and achieves human growth. During the four-year programme, which combines high challenge with high support, the trainee hopefully develops competence in dealing with disease, develops a professional identity and learns to heal.

The scheme is based on the first floor in the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) Building in the University of Limerick.

The ethos of the programme is experiential, that is, learning by doing. The content of the programme is dictated by the trainees' needs, with topic menus provided by the scheme. Local general practitioners through the CME scheme influence the curriculum for these menus.

The methods used in the day-release small group are varied but are usually problem-based with time given at each session for process analysis. This keeps the session real and allows trainees to assess their successes and failures and tease out why. As with all problem-based programmes, there is a critical evaluation and personal development section to enhance the trainees' learning experience. A very successful trainee-led journal club is also run every week where self-chosen pre-read papers are evaluated.

Dermatologist Dr Bart Ramsey is an excellent asset to the scheme. Being a graduate of the Dublin GP scheme before becoming a consultant dermatologist has both helped and sparked his keen interest in GP training. His dermatology forum, which is run over four years, offers a comprehensive course in dermatology to the trainees, and has proven to be invaluable to the Limerick graduates

Our GP trainers

  • Limerick City: Dr Dave Boylan, Dr Ronan Ryder, Dr Richard Murray, Dr Criona Burns, Dr Damien Hanley
  • Limerick County: Dr Aidan Culhane, Castleconnel.
  • West Limerick County: Dr Mel Fullam Newcastlewest, Dr Kieran Murphy, Athea
  • Ennis, Co. Clare: Dr Anthony Cox, Dr Dermot Boyle, Dr Finbarr Fitzpatrick, Dr Marie Finn, Dr Conor Hanrahan
  • Co. Clare: Dr Michael Kelleher, Lahinch. Dr Colum Gavin Clarecastle, Dr Niamh Meaney Ennistymon, Dr Conor McGee Scarriff, Dr Marie Quigney, Kildysart,
  • Co. Tipperary: Dr Colm O'Reilly, Toomevara, Dr Aislinn Donovan Roscrea, Dr Pat Harrold, Nenagh Dr Maeve Carroll, Roscrea, Dr Brenda Murnane, Nenagh They continue to embellish the scheme with their energy and enthusiasm for general practice. .

The Limerick GP Scheme is meeting the challenge of helping trainees to maximise their individual strengths by providing a realistic timetable with a self-selected relevant syllabus. Add in a sprinkling of enthusiastic general practice teachers and a vibrant University Campus, and you have an environment of personal and professional growth.