North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) has been rated as one of the best places for trainee doctors to complete their Emergency Medicine training in a recent survey. The Emergency Department has been ranked 16th nationally for training out of over 200 Trusts across the UK.

The 2021 GMC Trainee Results reveal that once again the North East and North Cumbria are top of the class for postgraduate medical training.  The region has also been number one for overall satisfaction for seven out of the past eight years. 

Dr Emma Farrow 1 small file.JPGEmma Farrow is an emergency medicine consultant at NCIC, she is also head of the A&E department in Carlisle and the medical lead for advanced practice for NCIC. She said:

“I’m thrilled to have been recognised by the GMC and our trainees. I think students here are pleasantly surprised by what’s on offer in our region in terms of case mix and the amount they can learn by completing their training here. North Cumbria is very different from other regions in the fact that we deal with major and minor trauma cases as well as paediatric care as part of our speciality. The mix of patients that we deal with give our trainees a very different experience to say an inner city hospital.”

Dr Tom Chivers small file.JPGDr Tom Chivers is a GP and is undertaking his training to become a consultant in emergency medicine he said:

“One of the things that I love about working here is that it is a very varied department. We really do see the full spectrum of A&E presentations and we are lucky that we have a very enthusiastic team who want to deal with most of the problems where they can. In some places things like eye problems get filtered off to other departments and we are lucky here that we tend to treat most things in A&E and seek specialist advice when needed.”

Dr Elizabeth Griffiths small file.JPGDr Elizabeth Griffiths is undertaking a university master’s programme in urgent care as well as her emergency medicine training. She said:

“I’ve really enjoyed my training here so far the case mix in Carlisle is excellent you get a really good mix of trauma patients, sick medical patients and minors and paediatrics as well. I think that is quite unique in the region for intensive training. We get probably as many cases in terms of trauma as some of the trauma centres but also you get the other presentations such as paediatrics that would get sent to specialist centres in other areas.”

Emma Farrow added: “The other major positive of training here at NCIC is the communities we serve are often extremely rural which bring a unique set of challenges, which we are well versed in here. Our trainees get the opportunity to get involved in some exceptional circumstances which can prove pivotal in their learning and development.”

Some specialty trainees have expressed a reluctance to being placed in north Cumbria due to the additional commuting that this often entails. Dr Chivers says you shouldn’t be put off:

“It’s a very supportive environment to work within. I live an hour and a half south and I could work closer to home but one of the reasons I do come here is because it’s so supportive and a keen enthusiastic team. I think that it is part of being a small team knowing who you are working with a friendly environment to work in and the people you work with are very very supportive and you know that the people you work with will generally have your back if needed.”

Dr Griffiths added: “I would really encourage them to come to Carlisle I know it seems like a long way away if you live in Newcastle but it is completely doable. As a group of trainees at the moment we are having a great time, we live together in a house in Carlisle and we still can go backwards and forwards to Newcastle it’s not too far at all, I would really encourage you to come.”

There are a number of training programmes available at the trust Emma explained;

“What is also really nice in north Cumbria is that we have a really multi-disciplinary approach to training. As you can see we have got registrars, junior doctors from the deanery, GP trainees, F2s, advanced clinical practitioners in training or towards the end of their training and CESR training and that gives you a really good mix of team and you can learn so much more than just the educational aspect from all those members of the team and I think that is why it makes it a really rounded experience.”

Lesley Adams is developing her nursing careers and is in her first year of advanced clinical practitioner training in the A&E department in Carlisle. She explains how everyone helps each other;

“I just think the overall experience is good; everyone is so friendly you don’t come to work and feel like you don’t know what you are doing, because even if you don’t everyone is so happy to help. They understand where you are with your level of training and they are supportive.”

Lesley says she would encourage anyone wanting to develop their skills to consider north Cumbria as a placement:

“I would say definitely come – there’s loads to do not only in the hospital as in specialist wise but there’s loads on the doorstep as well – loads of outdoor activities loads of beautiful places to visit amazing places to eat and the hospitals themselves are so diverse and there are so many things within them to support you with your training.

“I think the difference is the people who walk through the door here it is more rural so you get the farmers that obviously only turn up if they really are ill and just the general population – as northerners we tend to brave it out a lot of people turn up at the door and we know they are quite unwell.

“I think that you have got more of a personal touch in a rural place like this where the inner city you’re quickly in and out you don’t get to build that bond and rapport where I feel here you can quickly make that rapport with whoever comes through the door – although it’s a big place it feels quite small because of the how friendly and nice everyone is.”

Dr Griiffiths added:

“The consultant body here is excellent. I have had - in only a few months - so many opportunities  to do work based placed assessments and some learning based training opportunities and I really enjoyed those they’re really encouraging in terms of getting your and they are good at getting your portfolio looked at.”

Emma concluded: “When I started here we had 3 consultants and our team has just grown and grown and to be able to achieve this level training and education now is an absolute privilege and it is what I set out to do and I am so pleased that we have been able to achieve it. I think it is important from a reputation point of view because we want to be able to prove what we can deliver in north Cumbria.

"We deliver really good care in the ED and so for the trainees to be able to experience that, learn from it, it is a privilege to be to teach that and for them to be have a really good experience.”

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