Background The General Practitioner (GP) curriculum does not require specific training/exposure in palliative care in a hospice setting to allow completion of training (Royal College of General Practitioners, 2019). Primary care is at times the frontline for patients and relatives during times of critical illness and end of life care, thus it is imperative that General Practitioners possess basic skills in palliative care, as well as knowledge of local community palliative services available to enhance patient care. We present the aims and process of a GP fellow in Palliative Care.
Methods We outline the application process, typical work schedule and aims of the fellowship at St Clare Hospice.
Results Application process: advertisement of placement via the West Essex CCG Workforce and Training Hub. Application via paper form with CV, and then short-listing for interview. Typical work schedule: one day per week (08:30am-5pm) for 12 months attending ward rounds, meetings and carrying out the roles of an SHO. Aims: learning about the MDT process, systems of referral, earlier identification of dying patients, anticipating/managing their needs and understanding the numerous holistic services available. Development: the GP Fellow will be expected to complete a clinical audit and successfully complete the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care as part of this placement.
Conclusions Fellowships are a great way to increase exposure to a sub-specialty and are adopted in many areas of medicine and surgery (Fleming, Pucher, Elsey et al. 2019. Int J Surg. 67:101). The hospice Palliative Care Fellowship placement allows GPs to acquire skills and knowledge which supplement the GP curriculum and can be utilised in primary care to enhance care given to patients and their relatives at the end of life.
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