Sligo Specialist Training Scheme in General Practice

04 October 2017
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Tel: (071) 9174603 / Fax: (071) 9136892
Address: Sligo University Hospital


The Sligo Specialist Training Scheme in General Practice, founded in 1982 has been a four year programme since 1988. Since 2016 we have had an annual intake of nine doctors. 

We are preparing doctors for a professional career as general practitioners.


Professional training days and all hospital posts are based in Sligo, with the current exception of one mental health post in Castlebar through which three trainees progress in first year. We are negotiating with the HSE to establish another GP trainee post in Psychiatry in Sligo but cannot yet definitely offer this for July 2018.

Training practices are spread throughout the region, from Foxford in Co. Mayo to Ballinamore in Co. Leitrim, from Tubbercurry in Co. Sligo to Ardara in Co. Donegal. Half of the training practices are in, or within easy reach of, Sligo town, but entrants to the scheme should be aware that it is likely that part of their community based training will take place in practices about an hour or more by road from Sligo.

We are currently recruiting eight new trainers and the geographical spread of training practices may enlarge.

Training scheme staff

Our team consists of a director, four assistant directors and a scheme administrator. Four of the team are general practitioners and one is a psychotherapist. Most have active clinical commitments.

Programme structure

Trainees spend the first two years in hospital posts and the second two years in the community as GP registrars.

Hospital posts

Year 1: Each trainee will progress through four month posts in Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Year 2: Each trainee will progress through four month posts in Medicine and Paediatrics and a four month post in either Dermatology, Palliative Medicine or ENT.

During these two years trainees spend three one-week educational leave attachments in general practice and during their paediatric post a week of educational leave in community paediatrics.

Community training – GP registrar posts

During the two registrar years GP registrars will gain experience in a variety of forms and styles of practice, urban/rural, single-handed/group.

Audit and research

GP registrars in their first training practice complete a practice audit, which not only allows them to learn the skills of audit, but also may leave a lasting gift to their practice.

GP registrars in their third training practice complete a primary care based research project. Taught sessions and support meetings help registrars complete their audit and research.

GP registrars take educational leave to gain practical experience in Rheumatology, to attend a two week outpatients attachment, and to attend a two week attachment in Palliative Medicine for those who did not have a Palliative Medicine post in their second year.

Professional training

  • Thursday afternoon for first and second years.
  • All day Thursday for third and fourth years.

All trainees and registrars attend professional training throughout their four years on the programme. Sessions tend to be in small group format and may be resourced by doctors in training, the programme team, hospital teachers or outside speakers.

These days are flexible, responding to changing learning needs, societal expectation, feedback from doctors in training and the ICGP core curriculum for general practice. The aim is the development of professionalism in its widest sense.


Doctors in training benefit from formal twice yearly individual educational planning with a programme team member and there is ongoing assessment and reflection through trainee and GP registrar logs, and hospital and GP trainer reports.

Time in the developing world

We aim to facilitate one registrar at a time, if they wish, to spend a year working in medicine in the developing world. This takes place normally between third and fourth year, but can happen a year earlier. Registrars have previously spent time in Palestine, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. Training practice availability with the Sligo scheme, on the return of the registrar, is very likely, but cannot be guaranteed to be immediately available, due to trainees possibly returning from extended leave (e.g. maternity leave) at the same time as the registrar returning from leave in the developing world. 

The training charter

We are also posting our current Training Charter. This is a regularly reviewed document agreed between GP Registrars and GP Trainers. It is not a legal document but a guide which makes clear the aspirations, rights and responsibilities of Trainers and Registrars in the Training Programme.

Family planning

All doctors in training can now obtain a full family planning certificate within the programme, at no cost. This is a recent development and represents a major progression for all trainees.

MICGP Examination

Most doctors in training sit the modules of the MICGP examination in second and third year. Preparation for the modules takes place within the programme, leading to most doctors passing at the first attempt.

Medical education experience

All trainees are encouraged to take an active role in resourcing, facilitating and delivering educational sessions to their fellow trainees. Our philosophy is to foster lifelong learning.

For trainees who would like to develop exposure to additional medical education opportunities, support will be provided. This includes getting teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Further information

If you would like further information about the scheme please contact the programme administrator who will channel your enquiry appropriately.

Map of Sligo GP practices

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