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INTERNET

General practice in the United Kingdom


T
he internet is probably the easiest way to find
information on a career in general practice in the
United Kingdom. The national recruitment office
coordinates recruitment to general practice schemes
throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The
website www.gprecruitment.org.uk is designed to help
doctors who want to train for general practice to identify
available opportunities and make informed judgments
about where they wish to train. It includes eligibility
requirements, deanery information, and the answers to
the most frequently asked questions. This site also
serves as a gateway to individual deanery and vocational
training scheme sites and covers the process of applying
to the respective deaneries during the periods of
recruitment.
I am an aspiring general practitioner from the North
Western deanery and I have found the North Western
deanery web pages extremely useful, particularly the log
book designed for foreign graduates. The North Western
deanery has been the first deanery to design web pages of
this kind in the United Kingdom, and nearly half of the
doctors currently working in this region are foreign
graduates. The details are on the website of the Depart-
ment of Postgraduate Medicine and Dentistry (www.pgmd.
man.ac.uk).
You can find job vacancies in general practice at
www.bmjcareers.com in the general practice appoint-
ments section. The next key website for training in general
practice is www.jcptgp.org.uk. The advice on this site
isbased on the understanding of the Joint Committee
ofPostgraduate Training in General Practice (JCPTGP) of
current legislation and the regulatory framework of
general medical practice at the time of publication. It is,
however, not a legal document and it cannot cover in
detail every aspect of NHS (vocational training) regula-
tions. The registration aspects for a vocational trainee
are well updated at www.gmc-uk.org.
www.rcgp.org.uk has an attractive guide to the
workings of the Royal College of General Practitioners
(RCGP), the largest membership organisation in the
United Kingdom solely for general practitioners. This
website has detailed sections on the college and facul-
ties, services and libraries, quality and standards, edu-
cation and conferences, membership and exams,
publications and the British Journal of General Practice,
networks, the newsroom, research, and the online
book store. The website is useful for doctors wishing to
become members or fellows of the RCGP or doctors
wishing to promote excellence in general practice.
Another site worth mentioning, and available free for
registration for UK based general practitioners, is www.
gpnotebook.co.uk, It claims to be an online encyclopaedia
of medicine that provides a trusted immediate reference
resource for clinicians in the United Kingdom and inter-
nationally. Further reading at www.bmjcareers.com j
Roopa Venktesh SHO in adult medicine
Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham OL1 2JH
roopavenktesh@yahoo.co.uk
BOOKS
The Help Directory
Y
ou can fully assess a tools usefulness only after
extensive testing in the real world. I first came
across the Help Directory after a traumatic
nights work in the emergency department, during which
it would have been incredibly useful to have a list of
patient support groups for a wide range of conditions. An
internet search led me to the ukselfhelp.info website,
where I was quickly persuaded to obtain both the paper
and CD Rom editions of the directory for the very
reasonable sum of 20. Having used the Help Directory
for almost two years now, I can safely say that this was
the most useful and constructive 20 that I have ever
spent.
Human beings have always required a little help from
their friends, finding inner strength and comfort in the
experiences of others. From humble beginnings as local
gatherings of like-minded individuals, many support
groups have embraced the internet and blossomed into
globe spanning support communities. So effective are
these organisations that they now number many thou-
sands, offering advice and information on a range of
topics as diverse as human nature itself. Steve Garrill,
who runs the UK based website www.ukselfhelp.info, has
undertaken the Herculean task of gathering details of
many of these groups into one directory, which is
available both as an A4 booklet and on CD Rom. Its
content is conveniently arranged in alphabetical order
and is well indexed, so you can quickly pinpoint the
entry youre looking for.
During liaison work, I often refer general medical
teams and other specialties to the directory. My copy is
always in great demand from community psychiatric
nurses, social workers, and other doctorsso much so
that my last copy was left in tatters. The Help Directory
is an undiscovered gem when it comes to clinical
management, improving the lives of both doctors and
patients. Patients often thank me for the contact points
of support that can reach those parts that a 20 minute
consultation cannot.
Naturally, there is room for improvement. The CD
Rom would benefit from a quick search facility, and a
smaller edition of the paper version, similar in size to the
Oxford Handbook, would be invaluable for doctors on
the movebut these points are trivial when compared
with the directorys overall usefulness. Having experi-
enced its benefits first hand I have no problems in
recommending the Help Directory. No doctor should
leave home without it.
Order details are at www.ukselfhelp.info/order j
Rita Pal freelance medical writer and psychiatrist
Midlands
rita@ritapal.com
www.gprecruitment.org.uk
www.pgmd.man.ac.uk
www.jcptgp.org.uk
www.gmc-uk.org
www.rcgp.org.uk
www.gpnotebook.co.uk
Publisher: G Text, 259 Squires Gate
Lane, Blackpool FY4 3RE
printed edition 12.50; CD 12.50
(printed edition plus CD 20.00)
52 pages
ISBN 0 9538246 3 2
Rating: /5
career focus reviews
gp182 30 APRIL 2005 BMJcareers