Northern Ireland news

Queen's University Belfast and Royal College of GPs working together to promote general practice

Dr Grainne Doran and Professor Pascal McKeown

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A CAREER as a GP can be hugely stimulating, diverse and satisfying, young people are being told.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Queen's University Belfast are marking the NHS's seventieth birthday by promoting general practice.

Doctors, they said, could build relationships with patients and families over time and provide excellent health care from cradle to grave.

By providing work experience tasters, Queen's and RCGP are encouraging 16-17 year old pupils to recognise the role GPs play.

Over the past two weeks, 12 pupils have each spent two days shadowing a GP in their practice to get an insight into life as a family doctor.

GPs and medical educators are keen to encourage young people to strongly consider studying medicine and to support the development of future doctors.

RCGPNI chair Dr Grainne Doran said general practice sat at the very heart of the NHS.

"With a growing and ageing population in Northern Ireland, it is essential that patients are able to get the care and support that they need within their own community," she said.

"To provide this, we must ensure that we have an NHS that is fit-for-purpose, with enough family doctors to manage the needs of patients, now and in the future."

Professor Pascal McKeown, acting dean of the School of Medicine at Queen's said the partnership with RCGP provided interested students with an opportunity to see at first hand the key role which GPs have in improving the health and wellbeing of their patients.

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