To be honest, I have always found lectures to be a challenge. Most lectures often require intense and sustained concentration. They often feel long winded, with way too much information to absorbed, processed and made sense of and with interesting points quite limited and far between. Often, midway through the introduction, someone asks if we will have the lecture notes afterwards. With confirmation, you happily switch off! To my pleasant surprise things were interestingly different this time around.
Our first teaching session was an excellent introduction into the programme. The venue was the idyllic Low Wood Hotel in Ambleside at which we stayed over (on the course of course !). The teaching sessions spanned 2 consecutive days. The way the programme was structured offered everyone an opportunity to meet, interact with other attendees, including the tutors (Drs Gavin Torr & Simon Edgecombe).
The environment and teaching style was relaxed and flexible, and this encouraged some bonding amongst the group. Tutors over the 2 days comprised Drs Gavin Torr and Simon Edgecombe (who are the Year’s tutors) as well as doctors who had just completed their year on the programme. They set the tempo for the year, giving us critical and relevant information and a plan for the year. Throughout the 2 days, our input was sought and encouraged. Looking back, those 2 days provided a template, a kind of road map that set our cohort up for the rest of the year.
The whole programme has been set up very well. The tutors have fine-tuned the presentation and style of the teaching. Even the lecture days were mostly outstanding, particularly as most are given by GPs (usually GPwSIs) rather than Specialists. They gave information that we could use from a practical stand point in our day to day practice. This was a real strength. It was useful to have specialists as well on the odd occasion, so we could understand issues such as, appropriate referrals and what we could do prior to making referrals (which was a lot more than most of us thought!). There was also the rare lecture from the occasional specialist which fell into that overwhelming category alluded to earlier. BUT, we fed this back and this it will be considered as well!!
Keeping things interesting, however, did not mean that liberties were taken. Simon and Gavin have been mindful to include the mandatory WBPA topics that are needed for CCT completion, including BLS and Safeguarding Level 3 so you don’t need to worry about those! Furthermore, difficult areas to cover on the curriculum, for example, Genetics have also been included. Moreover, there was a lot of time included that we could discuss day to day cases, proposed projects and any other issues we wanted to bounce off the group.
One of the best things about the programme however, in my opinion, was how it utilised the beauty of the region. We had several days in the outdoors and these were not only thoroughly useful, but provided a fantastic break from the day to day grind. They included activities that kept things interesting, but also had great teaching as well as practical information about all the resources available in the area for our patients and ourselves!
I have been in the unusual position of having been part of 2 teaching programmes as I transferred from another local one to Morecambe Bay.
It is a unique and fantastic programme. The use of the stunning natural environment, coupled with crucial fixed lectures/tutorials, constantly evolving additions and addressing of important issues, such as exams marks the programme as a truly outstanding experience. A lot of care and consideration has gone into its planning and execution. We became very close as a group, and this remains well after finishing. Simon and Gavin have been brilliant tutors. They cultivated a great environment. They actively sought out feedback, and as a result any kinks are always being ironed out. They are extremely approachable and are an excellent resource for advice relating to work, but crucially they are also a good port of call in times of personal need.