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Donegal Specialist Training Scheme in General Practice

24 September 2020
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Donegal Specialist Training Scheme in General Practice

Tel: 074 91 23742


Prospectus 2020

Dr Paul Stewart, Director, Donegal Specialist Training Programme in General Practice, Education Centre, St Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Assistant Directors: Dr Kevin Quinn, Dr John Sheeran, Dr Sarah Maguire

Administration: Kathleen Langan
Tel: 074 91 23742

Note: This scheme is not hosting an open evening. Representatives from the scheme will be at the ICGP GP Trainee Recruitment Application & Information Session hosted by the ICGP on ...


The Donegal Scheme started in July 1981 and is one of the oldest schemes. It is based in Letterkenny and is a four-year programme, which allows for a special interest in rural general practice. We have an intake of nine trainees per year. The first two years of the four-year programme are spent as SHOs attached to Letterkenny General. The third and fourth years are spent as a GP registrar attached to training practices.

Hospital Posts

All Hospital posts are based in Letterkenny General and include four months as SHOs in medicine, geriatrics, paediatrics, obstetrics, and psychiatry. There is an excellent relationship between consultants, programme directors and general practitioners in the catchment area. The hospital experience is wide and varied and particularly suited to general practice training.

The posts are all recognised for basic specialist training as well as the Diplomas of Psychiatry, Obstetrics, Paediatrics and Medicine of the Elderly.

Training Practices

There are 21 training practices, with 23 Trainers attached to the scheme at present. Trainers have been carefully selected for their commitment, enthusiasm and ability to teach, as well as having practices that are up-to-date and willing to embrace change through active reflection. Trainees spend two six month attachments to training practices and are encouraged to self-select the practices within their own group.

The final year involves a flexible attachment to a single handed rural practice. This attachment during the fourth year allows time for a personalised approach to professional development.


Consultants provide teaching relevant to general practice during hospital attachments. GP trainers run weekly tutorials with their registrars as well as daily discussion on cases of interest or potential learning. There is a comprehensive half-day weekly release course for first and second year trainees and a full day weekly course for third and fourth years. This is organised by the programme directing team in the Education Centre, Letterkenny which has an excellent library. Teaching is through small group work, concentrating on the skills needed for effective and reflective practice within the consultation. The discussion of dilemmas posed by patients is extremely effective in developing problem solving skills in the context of an ethical framework.

Fourth Year

In keeping with our ethos of promoting excellence in general practice as well as catering for individual needs, the fourth year is more flexible. We encourage registrars to undertake a diploma and to gain experience in public health medicine as well as provide more time to enjoy general practice. Fourth year registrars are also encouraged to gain OPD experience in minor surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, ENT, rheumatology and STIs.


I hope you find our programme attractive and decide to give us a high preference. We are an intimate and sociable group and get great fun out of learning together. Donegal is a beautiful place to spend a few years and over 50 per cent of our graduates continue to work in the county. The weather isn't always pleasant but the people more than make up for it. If you would like further information, you can ring one of the trainees at Letterkenny General Hospital on (074) 9125888 or talk to our programme administrator, Ms Kathleen Langan on 074 9123742.