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I represent all Scottish sessional GPs on SGPC, so I decided it was time to introduce myself and do a personal self-funded tour of all Scottish LMCs.
It was with some trepidation that I made my way to Glasgow Airport as I was expecting an airplane smaller than the ones I was used to. I discovered that it was better than anticipated; the journey was very smooth, and the helpful air hostess was lovely dressed in a tartan dress as her uniform. The landing was straightforward and it had wonderful views from my window, with the Atlantic at one side and the North Sea on the other.
I then took the service bus from the airport to the main town of Lerwick, where I was staying for the night. The service bus took me through various small communities surrounded by grass and hilly areas. It was mid-summer and almost at the Solstice. The weather was lovely and sunny and after a walk, I got to a lovely café and a large well-known, well-stocked supermarket.
I had deliberately timed my visit so that I could attend the Shetland LMC that evening. Arriving there, I was made to feel very welcomed. Local matters were discussed, and I was then able to ask questions to the GPs that were there. I found out that there were very few GP principals left, as the majority of GPs are working either as salaried doctors, alongside other health professionals, or as GP locums. They felt it was important to supervise and work in a training practice, as this always helped the development of GPs in training and potentially, there was a chance to recruit them as permanent staff once they had finished. We also discussed how expensive the island can be for Shetlanders that may need to visit their families elsewhere and must make frequent trips off the island. After the meeting I was able to go for a very interesting walk around the working harbour at Lerwick. There appeared to be quite a lot of shops and the community looked to be thriving.
The next day, I had to return home. On the way to the airport, I had the most interesting conversation with a former fisherman-turned -taxi driver who pointed to me the sixty degrees North Latitude sign showing how far north we arrived. In the distance, you could see the Shetland ponies grazing by the road-side and the puffins at Sumburgh Head. I headed for home having had the most interesting trip. I would definitely recommend Shetland as there is lots to see and experience.
Mary Anne Burrow is a member of the GPC UK Sessional subcommittee and on the Scotland GPC
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Your trip to Shetland is very exciting. I enjoyed your trip.
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