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RCSI/Dublin North East General Practice Training Scheme

24 September 2020
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Tel: 01 4022302

Director: Dr Emma Nelson
Assistant Programme Directors: Dr Siobhan O'Kelly, Dr Niamh Moran
Tutor team: Dr Brendan Lawless, Dr Jennifer Meer, Dr Niamh Cafferty
Programme Administrator: Ms Marian Earleemail: 
Address: Mercers Medical Centre, Lower Stephen Street, Dublin 2 
Directions: See a map of the area

Mission, Vision and Ethos

Our mission is to train doctors to become clinically competent general practitioners who will serve the healthcare needs of the people of Ireland. The GP trainee is mentored and encouraged to engage in personal and professional development throughout the training period. Thereby, hopefully, instilling a passion and enthusiasm for general practice. 

Our vision is, through excellence in GP training, to train fulfilled, self-aware and motivated GPs who are knowledgeable, skilled and prepared for independent practice. These GPs will provide holistic care to the individual, and provide safe, competent evidence-based care. Our trainees will be committed to meaningful long-term careers in Irish general practice. Graduates of the programme will be respected as colleagues capable of caring for all patients including our own friends and family. They will also be advocates for their patients in the ever changing healthcare and economic environment. 

The scheme has been training GPs since 1991 and has been through many changes, including expansion of numbers, but retains its trainee-centred ethos and smaller group teaching. The programme directing team has extensive experience in small group teaching and General Practice education.


The first year is spent in hospital posts, followed by six months in general practice, a further year in hospital posts, six months back in general practice and finally a full year in a different training practice.

All trainees normally get an early exposure to General Practice for the first time (in 2nd year) and experience in three different practices. This is one of the few programmes with an early GP placement and the only one with a six-month early GP placement. Consideration is given to providing a mix of demographics and practice style.

Hospital posts are all of 4 months duration, allowing exposure to 6 different specialties of relevance to General Practice.

The MICGP exam will normally be completed by the end of year 3 with the final year devoted to developing special interests and skills and preparing for life-long learning and independent practice.

We expanded our intake from 9 to 12 in recent years.

Current Hospital Posts

  • Paediatrics (Temple Street & Urgent Care Unit Connolly Hospital, or Tallaght University Hospital)
  • Emergency Medicine (St James' Hospital, Tallaght University Hospital or Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown)
  • Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Coombe Women's Hospital or National Maternity Hospital, Holles St.)
  • Psychiatry (Tallaght University Hospital or St Vincent's Fairview)
  • General Medicine/Care of the Elderly (Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown or Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda)
  • Palliative Care, (Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, St Luke's Hospital, or Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda

At present there are 25 training practices involved in training on the scheme. Trainers have regular educational workshops throughout the year.

Current Trainers

  • Dr Kilian McGrogan (City Centre)
  • Dr David Gibney (Ballymun)
  • Dr Judith Kavanagh (City Centre)
  • Dr Richard Ennis (Drumcondra & Cabra)
  • Dr George Roberts (Beaumont)
  • Dr Mary Carmel Burke (Glasnevin)
  • Dr Neasa McDonagh (Ballymun)
  • Dr Conor Maguire (Stepaside)
  • Dr Niall Moore (Swords)
  • Dr Michael Collins (Kildare town)
  • Dr Richard Aboud (Beaumont)
  • Dr Lia Egan (Greystones, Co. Wicklow)
  • Dr Kieran Fulcher (Dunboyne, Co. Meath)
  • Dr John Murphy (Clondalkin)
  • Dr Mary Behan, (Drumcondra)
  • Dr Sarah Carty (Merrion)
  • Dr Sarah Riney (Glasnevin
  • Dr David Madden (Portmarnock)
  • Dr Jean Gallagher (Ranelagh)
  • Dr Mait O'Faolain (Ashbourne, Co. Meath)
  • Dr Sarah Beth Hooper, Drimnagh Dublin 12
  • Dr Nicola Cochrane, Greystones
  • Dr June Coates, Arklow
  • Dr Aine Fitzpatrick, Crumlin
  • Dr Laura O'Flynn, Portmarnock

Steering Committee

There is a steering committee which oversees the management of the scheme. Trainees are invited to be represented by 3 trainees at each meeting.

Learning Opportunities

  • Hospital-based learning: experiential learning, one to one mentoring and working on a multidisciplinary team
  • Practice-based learning: experiential learning, one to one mentoring and teaching and working with the primary care team
  • Small group work on the day release course including shared experience, case-based learning, discussion, role play, feedback etc
  • Self-directed learning on a personal level and in small groups
  • Individual reviews and learning needs analyses
  • Use of a learning portfolio and reflective exercises

Each group has a nominated educational supervisor/mentor

Scheme Teaching Programme (Day Release Course)

Teaching takes place on Wednesdays in the Mercer Medical Centre.

When based in hospitals, trainees attend in the afternoon only, while those in general practice attend teaching for the full day.

This provides a forum to pool experiences in teaching posts over the preceding week and to explore a scheduled topic or issue in a focused way.

The teaching format is workshop style in small groups. The model of learning values the input of the learner equal to that of the teacher, rather than the more traditional methods of 'teacher expert/student novice'. Hence, the style of learning in the workshops is interactive and experiential.

We aim to create conditions in which trainees will learn with enthusiasm and enjoyment and regularly use role-play, video work, arts media such as painting and film and discussion as aids to learning.

The format of the workshops is small group work, with each year acting as an independent group with a facilitator.

The focus is not only on the content of each group session but also the group process, i.e., exploring and learning from the interactions and dynamics between individuals in a group setting. The formation of an honest and supportive group is integral to this and this is facilitated and encouraged from the beginning of first year.

Special attention is paid to subjects and issues that are not easily accessible through the work experience provided on the programme. The workshops focus on the learning needs of the trainees themselves with an emphasis on personal and professional development.

The module on Consultation skills is a particularly important part of the curriculum, with a focus on trainees' own videotaped consultations (real, where possible and simulated, using actors). We use the Calgary-Cambridge model of communication skills. Analysis of these video tapes and teaching of these skills is undertaken in a safe small group environment.

The Personal Development module runs throughout the four years. The overall aim of the programme is to enhance the participants' level of self-awareness, thereby improving the quality of their work as general practitioners when dealing with patients. Participants are encouraged within a safe group environment to explore their own experiences and development and to use this as a platform for awareness and understanding of others. In year 4 learners participate in a Balint Group.

In Year 2, the trainees will learn the tools required to do a clinical audit while in general practice. This will arm them with the skills required to maintain their lifelong competence as registered practitioners in accordance with Part 2 of the Medical Practitioners Act.

In Year 4, the trainee will complete a quality initiative in their appointed practice and will do a special interest project, involving more in-depth study or skills acquisition in a particular area of interest. Protected time is allowed for the special interest.

The programme team facilitate most of the workshops. However, external resource persons and experts are occasionally invited to facilitate a particular workshop. Occasionally, a visit is arranged to a specialist centre or institution of interest. Some workshops are led or resourced by the trainees, according to their own learning needs. We generally teach across 46-48 weeks of the year.

Teaching and learning through COVID period

We are proud of the way we have adapted to the new learning environment during the Covid-19 crisis and necessary restrictions. All our day release sessions, meetings with trainees and so on take place by Zoom and feedback has been excellent, a high level of participation, learning outcomes achieved and the small group supportive element of day release preserved. We do look forward to meeting face to face again, hopefully very soon.

Extra Activities

In the autumn of each academic year, all trainees and teaching staff partake in a 2-day residential workshop away. This comprises workshops and group activities and helps to introduce new trainees to the scheme and to each other. This helps the formation of well-functioning groups with trust, honesty and mutual support as key characteristics and a cohesive trainee cohort. We also believe that fun is an integral part of learning and the residential workshops help to instil a fun element into our learning process. We have a twice-yearly social outing, arranged by trainees in December and June. 

Want to know more?

Please ask for our full prospectus by emailing our administrator

The programme director will attend the information morning facilitated by the ICGP and will be happy to answer any questions by chat function. Details of our own training scheme info session by Zoom will be available on the ICGP website.