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GP Specialty Academic Training (GPSAT)

All recruits to GP training in Wales can apply to enter GP Specialty Academic Training (GPSAT) programme during their second year and commence the post from the start of their ST3 year.

The GPSAT programme aims to provide a route into an academic GP career starting in specialty training. It allows trainees to develop academic skills early in their career, enabling them to undertake training and research in the postgraduate and undergraduate departments of the deanery while they are still training.

GPSAT trainees undertake their ST1 and ST2 years as normal. During their ST3 and ST4 years they spend half of each week in a clinical GP setting and half in academic training.

Academic training and supervision will be provided by either Swansea University Medical School, Cardiff Medical School or Bangor University.  There are 5 academic posts available 2 in Cardiff, 2 in Swansea and 1 in Bangor. Successful candidates will be required to work in Swansea, Cardiff or Bangor for their academic sessions but will continue their clinical training in their current GP Training Scheme and will not be required to move for this element of their GP training.  Travel expenses for travel to and from the academic base can be claimed via Section 2.

How does the scheme work?

GP Specialty Academic Trainees undertake ST3 over two years with an average of 50% of time based in practice and 50% of time based within the academic department.  Trainees continue to receive a full 45% supplement and consequently are required to undertake the full mandatory OOH training requirements.    A trainee would need to agree to work a minimum of 70% (2 days General Practice, 1.5 days academic) to be eligible to apply.

E-portfolio entries are used to capture reflections on academic work and an academic ARCP panel takes place annually to review progress.  A training practice is chosen in the training Scheme area in which the successful applicant is already based.  

GP Specialty Academic Trainees who satisfactorily complete the first year of academic training will have the opportunity to undertake an appropriate postgraduate higher education qualification.   

Applicants may have some ideas about the research and education pathways they might like to follow, however, the interview panel will also want to shape the development pathway for successful applicants according to individual needs. 

Bangor University

GP academic trainees are hosted by the North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research, Bangor University, led by Professor Clare Wilkinson and Dr Julia Hiscock (Welcome | North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research | Bangor University). The department is situated on the Wrexham Campus but trainees from all North Wales training schemes are encouraged to apply.

The main research themes of the department include cancer diagnosis, medical education, palliative care and musculoskeletal medicine and rehabilitation. There are excellent links with other research groups within the School of Medical and Health Sciences with opportunities for collaboration and developing personal research interests. Methodological expertise in the group includes systematic review and meta-analysis, trials and qualitative methods. Academic trainees have the opportunity to develop their skills, experience and gain post graduate qualifications in medical education.

For further information or informal enquiries please contact Dr Alun Surgey, GP Clinical Lecturer a.surgey@bangor.ac.uk.

Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University SchooI of Medicine  

GP Specialty Academic Trainees are attached to the Division of Population Medicine, which is part of Cardiff University School of Medicine under the leadership of Professor Adrian Edwards.  The Division is able to offer opportunities in research and medical education.  The Divisions research activities are based around two broad themes: preventing harm and ill-health, and improving patient care. Within these themes, there are research groups focussed on alcohol-related harm, infections, palliative and end-of-life care, patient safety, patient-centred care, childhood disease and well-being, and screening, prevention and early diagnosis of cancer.  

There are also opportunities to deliver teaching in communications skills to undergraduates in small group settings, develop new teaching modules and conduct educational research. 

The link to the homepage for the Division of Population Medicine is below: 

http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/medicine/research/divisions/population-medicine 

Swansea University Medical School 

GP academic trainees are attached to the primary care team of Swansea University Medical School under the leadership of Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Head of Graduate Entry Medicine, and Drs Jonathan Harikrishnan and Chris Horn. Opportunities are available in medical education and research. 

We will mentor and advise on the teaching/educational content of the academic scheme. This will include teaching medical students, clinical and communication skills in small groups, during their weekly Integrated Clinical Methods (ICM) module, and professionalism teaching. In addition, there will be opportunities to learn about curriculum development and medical assessment.  

There are four research themes (http://www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine/research/) covering health related domains including pre-hospital care, mental health and big data. Academic trainees can be based within research teams dependant on their interests.  They will be supported and mentored by senior professorial academic staff in specific projects.   

Being part of the GPSAT scheme is a highly rewarding, but sometimes challenging pathway for trainees. The commitment required to maintain both academic and clinical elements should not be taken lightly. Previous experience shows that the trainees who adapt the quickest to the new way of working are often those who have already achieved a pass at their RCGP AKT examination.   

If you are considering applying for the GPSAT Scheme it would be desirable for you to have achieved the AKT prior to starting GPST3. We appreciate that due to the timings you may only have it booked, or be awaiting results at the point of application. This would be an expectation, but is not an essential criterion.  

If you would like to contact our current Academic Trainees to ask any questions please contact us on heiw.gptraining@wales.nhs.uk 

Please see the FAQs for further information.