NHS Shetland Seeks GPs
by Alastair Hamilton -
If you’re a GP with an affinity for what Shetland has to offer, NHS Shetland would like to hear from you.
There are currently five vacancies across Shetland for salaried GPs, as follows:
- One post in the village of Bixter, based in excellent, modern premises with good consulting rooms, this dispensing general practice serves around 1,200 people in a rural community;
- Two posts in the Lerwick Health Centre, a practice that serves around 9,000 people in the town and the surrounding rural area. Again, the facilities are modern and well-equipped;
- One post in the Yell Health Centre, in Mid Yell. The practice cover around 1,200 Yell residents and another 70 or so on the smaller island of Fetlar to the north-east.
- One part-time post in the Unst Health Centre, serving just over 600 patients in Britain’s northernmost island
All the local health centres have well-established teams in place. NHS Shetland say that they’re open to considering various models of delivering care and they’re also willing to consider job-share. As the post details explain, there are opportunities for professional development and specialisation.
Shetland offers a great environment in which to work, with a vibrant cultural life, outstanding wildlife-watching, and remarkably good leisure facilities. Education - available from nursery to university level - is of a high standard.
An overnight ferry links Shetland to the Scottish mainland and, on some sailings, to Orkney.
Air services connect the islands directly to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Kirkwall and - just 200 miles to the east - Bergen in Norway.
Internally, there are frequent ferry services connecting the islands and road links are excellent.
Shetland has always been an international crossroads, welcoming traders and visitors from around the North Sea and North Atlantic. The islands were linked to the Hanseatic League and that outward-looking spirit is as strong today as it ever was. It was at the Anderson High School in Lerwick that the concept of the Global Classroom, linking schools around the world, was developed.
There are many other examples of that internationalism. For example, the annual Folk Festival brings an eclectic range of music from around the world; it has featured performers from North and South America, Africa, India, Mongolia and many places closer to home.
The practices in Lerwick, Yell and Unst are only a few minutes away from modern sports centres with swimming pools and the practice in Bixter is only about ten minutes’ drive from the leisure centre in Aith.
Community events bring people together throughout the islands and in Lerwick the Mareel arts centre offers a concert hall and two cinemas. You can see mainstream cinema releases, arthouse and screen classics, and special presentations, for example from National Theatre Live.
There are endless opportunities for outdoor pursuits, for example sailing, kayaking, hill-walking, cycling, angling and diving.
It’s perhaps no surprise that several doctors who have worked in Shetland have become closely involved in local natural history. Back in the 19th century, Dr Laurence Edmondston (1795-1879), based in Unst, undertook important research into the flora and fauna of the islands, publishing many papers and meeting, among many others, John James Audobon, the American painter of birds, and Charles Darwin, with whom Laurence later corresponded following Darwin’s exploration of the Galapagos. Laurence also produced the first systematic list of Shetland birds and gave his name to a tiny plant, Edmondston’s Chickweed, found only on the serpentine scree of the Keen of Hamar Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Laurence also planted Britain’s most northerly woodland at Halligarth; it survives today and, as he intended, it‘s a haven for a wide variety of birds. In fact, the National Trust for Scotland has plans to restore the house in which he lived and its grounds.
Much more recently, Dr Marshall, formerly the GP on the island of Whalsay, has made many contributions to Shetland ornithology and Dr Malcolm, of Scalloway, published an illustrated guide to Shetland’s wild flowers.
You can watch a short video in which GPs talk about their life and practice in Shetland.
You can also find lots of practical information about living in the islands on the Promote Shetland website, and of course there’s also a very full account of all the things that make this such a special corner of Europe, offering a quite remarkable quality of life.
We’d love you to join us.
Posted in: Community