Medical students start Highland placements

Highland hospitals welcome aspiring doctors on new graduate entry medical degree

Friday 16th August 2019

Students on Scotland’s fast-track graduate medical course begin placements in the Highlands this week for the first time.

ScotGEM offers aspiring doctors with an arts or science degree, and an interest in medicine and healthcare, a four-year fast-track medical course, with the aim of getting more doctors into remote and rural areas.

The group of 13 second year students working in the Highlands will spend one day a week at medical practices in Inverness and Nairn, attend clinical skills sessions at the Centre for Health Science and visit Raigmore Hospital regularly.

Cassandra Baiano, originally from New York and now living in Dundee, is one of the students undertaking the six-week Highland placement.

She said: “I’m so excited to start our placement in the Highlands and to work with patients and colleagues from other parts of Scotland. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the different ways in which care is delivered on the ground across the country as it will ultimately make us more innovative and versatile doctors.

“I originally chose ScotGEM for the opportunity for patient contact immediately upon starting the course and regularly throughout. The course is underpinned by the real-life application of everything we learn in the classroom, clinical setting and community, allowing us to strengthen our clinical knowledge and skills from day one.”

Students who progress into third year will be able have the opportunity to do ten-month general practice placements in areas such as Lochgilphead, Lochinver, Caithness and the Black Isle.

Professor Crichton Lang, interim principal and vice-chancellor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first cohort of students to our region. We will be supporting this initiative to bring more trainee doctors into our remote and rural communities in a number of ways.”

“We are also very pleased to welcome the ScotGEM students into our large and diverse student community throughout the Highlands and Islands and also into our thriving health and social care research environment.

“We very much hope that through their positive experiences as students they will be encouraged to practice in our region when they qualify.”

Dr Claire Vincent, a consultant at Raigmore and Caithness hospitals and the NHS Highland lead for ScotGEM, added: “Delivering the education from the community and hospital in an integrated manner enables students to understand the needs of today’s Highland patients.

“We look forward to developing this further as the course progresses with more immersive rural placements embedded in the community.”