Ludo Thierry and Alasdair Macdonald

Beeb Scotland are making me reach for my tinfoil hat again – and I really wish they wouldn’t do that! – Beeb Scotland are carrying an interesting story about a resourceful Orkney GP who has come up with an imaginative scheme to attract GPs from other areas to come and spend some time working in remote and rural areas in Scotland. The story is interesting and current. Beeb Scotland, however, choose not to carry it on their full Scotland News page – and consign the article to their Highlands and N.E. Scotland pages only. WHY? (oops – the scheme is supported and promoted by the SNP Scottish Govt – Silly me – there was me forgetting – SNP Scottish Govt baaaad, Scotland rubbish, NHS Scotland irredeemable etc, etc, etc). Link and snippets below (huge congrats to Dr. Siderfin of Orkney for coming up with the idea and for the SRMC developing the plan – and to the SNP Scottish Govt for funding it).

A scheme to tackle a shortage of GPs in some of Scotland’s most isolated communities could be rolled out.

The Joy initiative, aimed at helping doctors “rediscover the joy of general practice”, operates in four health boards in the north of Scotland.

It has so far seen 27 doctors recruited from other areas to work up to 18 weeks a year in practices that previously found it difficult to attract a GP.

The scheme was pioneered by Orkney GP Dr Charlie Siderfin.

It has been used in the areas covered by NHS Highland, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

Dr Siderfin said: “We advertised for GPs through the British Medical Journal and the response was excellent.”

“I think in part because GPs see this as a collaborative and systematic effort to address recruitment and retention issues rather than a sticking-plaster approach.”

Governance and evaluation of the project is the responsibility of the Scottish Rural Medicine Collaborative (SRMC), which was set up with Scottish government funding last year.

Ralph Roberts, from the SRMC, said that The Joy was helping to improve GP recruitment to some of the country’s more isolated communities.

Alasdair Macdonald

A couple of months ago I was working in a community garden project and one of the other volunteers was a self-employed musician. However, in the course of our blethering, it turned out that she had been a GP. She had always wanted to study music, but her father had insisted that she study medicine and, on qualifying she worked as a GP in the northern isles. When her father died, she had returned to studying music, obtained her degree and began working as a musician, in Glasgow. However, for several years she had returned to the northern isles for long periods to be a locum GP, to allow the resident GPs to take holidays. While we were working a friend of hers arrived. She was a GP in Shetland, whom the musician was going to stand in for in a few weeks time. (She had come to Glasgow to give us some wildflower seeds which she had harvested from her croft.)Perhaps this was an example of what you have been talking about.Although there is a thriving music scene in the northern isles, there are more opportunities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but given that income from music can be fragile, being able to work as a fairly well paid locum post would provide a degree of security to support work in music for the remainder of the year. Clearly, there was an affection for the northern isles and there was also a sense of satisfaction in using her medical training.This kind of thing is too nuanced for BBC Scotland News and