The Geriatrics training programme in Wales is split between north and south Wales.
The north Wales programme incorporates training through three sites within Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (Bangor, Wrexham and Glan Clwyd) whilst the south Wales programme incorporates training through all south Wales sites from west Wales to south east Wales. Candidates applying to the geriatrics programme are not expected to rotate between north and south Wales. You will remain in either north or south Wales for the duration of your training.
Geriatric medicine is one of the largest specialties in the UK. It offers a stimulating intellectual challenge: illness may present in unusual ways in older people, they frequently have multiple pathologies that interact, and they are particularly prone to adverse drug reactions.
The training will allow you to maintain a generalist approach while also developing a subspecialty interest. This can range from stroke to Parkinson’s Disease, falls and fracture prevention, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It also offers the chance to work both in community and hospital settings. Research is generating an ever-expanding evidence base for the management of many conditions in old age, and the National Service Framework for Older People has laid out some challenging targets for health care provision. There are presently around 800 consultants in the specialty but numbers are expanding so career prospects are excellent.
The most effective geriatrician is an excellent general physician with good communication skills, who is able to work well in a team with other disciplines, and can empathise with older people. Most people are attracted by the holistic way that the specialty takes on acute investigation and management together with subsequent rehabilitation and discharge planning, all tailored to each individual’s needs.
The Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) in geriatric medicine includes representatives of the London, Glasgow and Edinburgh Medical Colleges, the British Geriatrics Society and the Specialist Registrars themselves. It meets four times each year, and works with the JCHMT to maintain training standards in the specialty across the country. This is achieved by close contact with Regional Advisers, attendance at Specialist Registrar annual assessments and regular inspections of training programmes across the UK.