TEACHING AND AUDIT
As a practice we feel it is important to be involved in the training of future doctors and therefore we are actively involved in teaching undergraduate medical students and qualified doctors who are training to be General Practitioners (GPs). We also use auditing to continually review and improve our services.
We usually have a GP Registrar working in the practice. They are fully qualified doctors spending a year in general practice before accreditation as an independent GP principal. We therefore occasionally ask patients to give consent for their consultation (but not examination), to be recorded on video. The video recordings are subject to the same confidentiality as the medical records. We recognise that many patients prefer their consultation not to be recorded and the doctor will always respect their wishes.
Garstang Medical Practice is a teaching practice which supports medical students in undertaking placements within our surgery. These students usually come to us from Lancaster University Medical School, although some occasionally visit us from other universities.
Medical students are required to gain experience in listening and speaking to patients, and to occasionally carry out examinations. The students are always supervised by an experienced GP, Nurse Practitioner or Practice Nurse. The experienced clinician will always be present to listen to what the patient has said and examine the patient themselves if necessary. Students are often encouraged to suggest a diagnosis and possible treatment, however the final decision in relation to this suggestion is ALWAYS made by the experienced GP, Nurse Practitioner, or Practice Nurse in supervision of the student at that time.
All medical students are fully aware of the policies, regulations and guidance concerning patient confidentiality and best medical practice when in contact with patients. When a patient books an appointment, they will be advised at that time of the possibility of a student being present in that surgery. If for any reason the patient would prefer not to, they will be able to book an alternative appointment. Patients who agree to have a student present when booking their appointment will always be asked again on the day of their appointment to confirm that they are still happy with this. GPs and Nurses fully understand why a patient may decide not to have a student present and will absolutely respect the patient’s decision. This will in no way alter their consultation.
We have often noted that the majority of our patients have actually found it quite interesting to have a medical student present during their consultation and many patients have commented on how much they, themselves have learned whilst listening to the information the GP or Nurse has discussed with the student about the patient’s condition and the treatment required.
Occasionally, we will ask a patient to come and speak to medical students about their specific medical problem. Students find this a particularly useful learning exercise and value the opportunity to speak in depth to a patient about their medical condition and how it affects their life. Furthermore, patients appreciate the opportunity to explain to ‘future doctors’ what it means to have a condition such as theirs and how they feel doctors could most help and support them.
Being a teaching practice helps clinicians to keep up to date and improve their teaching and consultation skills. We are proud of the exceptional feedback we receive from students following their time with us and they often tell us that they felt it was an excellent opportunity to increase their knowledge of consulting within a practice and that it allowed them to gain an excellent learning experience. We are particularly grateful to all patients who give up some of their time and share their experiences. These patients greatly support the practice in ensuring that we provide the students with the very best teaching opportunities in general practice and offer them an insight into how all of our clinicians care for our patients.
The students we see here are the GP’s of the future and patients who spend time with these students are helping to inform and train the next generation of doctors.
To improve our standard of care, we also routinely audit our management of various illnesses. This may involve the doctors (within the practice only), looking through the records of any of our patients.
One of our ongoing audits is the National Diabetes Audit (NDA). The NDA collects information from GP practices and hospitals, the use of which is controlled by law and strict rules of confidentiality. The NDA will collect the NHS number, date of birth and post code of the patients on our diabetes register in order to link the information with the diabetes care they receive elsewhere. Once the information has been linked, the patient identifying data is then removed, so the information is anonymised. A patient information leaflet is available here.
Taking part in the NDA can help improve the quality of care for people with diabetes. As with all of our audits however, patients can choose not to take part. If you have any such concerns, please just inform our reception team.