Why should you choose the Imperial VTS? – Dr Chad Hockey

“Firstly, it's a really innovative scheme with some amazing opportunities for trainees- I've had a 6 month placement at the Kings Fund to learn about health policy, a colleague went to the BMJ to learn about medical writing, and another has been involved with planning undergraduate education at Imperial's Singapore medical School as part of an educational project.

This active promotion of portfolio career options is just part of the visionary approach to GP training exemplified by the scheme- on the VTS days we've contextualised current healthcare practice by looking at medical history (I'd never realised how similar the Hippocratic oath is to current GMC guidelines), explored the role of literature, music and art in medicine and visited the Welcome institute, with a trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden planned for the New year. Rather than being 'a bit 6th form' all of this has been done in a way that adds depth and makes us think more laterally about care.

The clinical side is well catered for too, making use of Imperial's links to get outside lecturers including Roger Neighbour, as well as GP-focused talks from hospital consultants. Placements are all easily accessible so you can base yourself somewhere for the duration of the course, and include some of London's major teaching hospitals. Here again there has been attention to detail as the posts have been chosen and shaped to reflect the specific needs of GP trainees, and the feedback we give at our regular small group sessions on VTS days has helped shape and improve posts as well as provided peer support.

It's also a highly academic scheme. Imperial's professor of Primary Care gave a tutorial on how to get published and is available for advice and support, we are copied into emails requesting clinical appraisal of research papers prior to publication, and the VTS is based in the department of Public Health, with links to the NIHR. Several of us have already done primary care research projects on this VTS, which have already been published.

But it's the programme directors that make this VTS really special. They're supportive, friendly and have an infectious enthusiasm not just for primary care, but for learning and people, and this makes their VTS a really fun place to be. Without them it really wouldn't be the same. I hope you'll come and join us; it really is an amazing VTS. I mean all of it.”

I have really enjoyed my first GP VTS year - Dr Chiara Haynes.

“We have had some really interesting afternoon teaching sessions and had great fun on our two day residential at Cumberland lodge. I have gained two publications, one for each of my hospital rotations last year, and was able to present at the London School of GP Annual trainee conference. This is not something I have matched during my foundation training and believe that it is the innovative posts and doctors working with The Imperial scheme that enabled this to happen.”

I have really enjoyed my gpst1 so far! - Dr Rosanna Lombardo

“Wednesday teaching sessions are enjoyable! The imperial GPST team are really supportive! I'm also thoroughly enjoying my current Paeds ITP post which is unique and has given me a really good experience in both community and hospital paediatrics!”

The Imperial VTS has been a fantastic experience of GP training - Dr Anna Grimstone

“My placements have given me broad and well-balanced clinical exposure which has been valuable for my career as a GP.  We have also been privileged by teaching from well-respected speakers during our Wednesday half day release sessions.  The programme trainers are enthusiastic and motivating and I have felt well supported in passing the DRCOG exam and in preparing for the upcoming AKT.

 I'm looking forward to another residential trip to Cumberland Lodge this year!”

Each week I look forward to the Wednesday afternoon - Dr Anna Shirley

“I joined the Imperial GP VTS scheme in the summer, starting with a relevant and well-supported job in paediatrics at St Mary's. The team there is fantastic and the rota has been redesigned to include plenty of educational opportunities for GP trainees. I have been involved in producing a Paediatric Updates Newsletter for local GPs, and also had the opportunity to present at the annual GP paediatric training day. 

Each week I look forward to the Wednesday afternoon Imperial scheme half-day release where we cover everything from essential topics and exam practice to reflection and journal club, and of course make time for a cup of tea and a catch up with the other trainees.”

A very friendly, supportive and energetic group led by Martin and Samia - Dr Anna Timmis

“A very friendly, supportive and energetic group led by Martin and Samia who are excellent programme directors and put a lot into running the scheme. I am thoroughly enjoying my posts so far and all the placements to which I have been allocated to are all very relevant to GP training. An added bonus has been the occasional home baked cakes at our half day release teaching sessions!”

The experience I have gained on the Imperial course has been invaluable - Dr Noorez Hirani

“Initially, I was apprehensive about applying for a pilot VTS scheme, however any concerns which I may have had were quickly gone once I met the programme directors - they are two of the most passionate, dedicated and approachable people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

So far, the experience I have gained on the Imperial course has been invaluable. In addition to the scheme offering flexible learning opportunities, highlights of the course have included our memorable away day and making lots of great friends.”