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Hot Topics: why we need CPD for GPs by GPs

28 March 2018 - Dr Simon Curtis
I started work as a GP in 1995 and was nearly burnt out as a GP before I’d barely started. I was overwhelmed. Not so much with the clinical workload but just the crushing burden of thinking ‘How am I supposed to know all this stuff?’ when you are seeing a case of plantar fasciitis one minute, panic attacks the next and then complex multimorbidity.

I wanted to be the best doctor I could be, but how? Weighty books were already out of date, the internet back then took an age to load anything (remember the squeaky modem dial up sound?) and then didn’t answer the questions that were relevant. I needed a course, but a problem became immediately apparent: there were no general GP courses. So, I booked on to a respiratory update for GPs led by some specialists, thinking ‘I’m going to have to go to a lot of courses to cover every body part’. I then sat through boring lectures on leukotriene metabolism, looked at pictures of graphs and molecules, and learnt absolutely nothing that was useful to me. Specialists, nice as they were, just did not understand how GPs work.

So I sat down to think about what I really wanted and needed as a GP. It needed to be a general course that would update me with all the recent developments relevant to GPs and that came with a manual to sit on my desk that I could refer to throughout the day to tell me what the latest evidence is for condition A, B or C. I needed content that was recent, relevant to me, and was from reliable evidence sources. This could only happen if it was prepared and delivered by GPs, and to ensure independence and reliability it had to be free from any external pharma influence. And the presentations would need to be clinically focussed, brief and snappy and have clear learning points to take away. Lastly, it needed to give me information I could use, but not tell me how to do my job or patronise me. Ideally, I wanted to be entertained and inspired as well. Simple!

“I needed content that was recent, relevant to me, and was from reliable evidence sources. This could only happen if it was prepared and delivered by GPs, and to ensure independence and reliability it had to be free from any external pharma influence.”

The only trouble was, this course didn’t exist…but I had a great doctor mate, Phil, who’d started a fledgling company called NB Medical Education.  We got together and put together the Hot Topics GP Update Course in 1998 under the NB banner. I’d love to say it was a rip roaring overnight success but it wasn’t. To be honest, the first few courses were a steep learning curve and sparsely attended. The culture was still very much that GPs needed to be ‘taught’ by specialists. But we got better quickly. We learnt what works, word of mouth spread and numbers grew and grew and within a few years it had totally changed the way CPD was delivered for GPs throughout the UK.

NB Medical’s Hot Topics course is now the most established, market leading course for CPD for GPs throughout the UK and Ireland, and has been delivered internationally from the UAE to Holland to Hong Kong.  In the UK approximately 20,000 GPs (half the workforce) attend the course annually. All our medical educators, including me, remain as front-line GPs so they understand the issues at the coal face.

We’re delighted to be coming to Australia for the first time this year to deliver the course in conjunction with our Aussie partners at Medcast to ensure local Aussie relevance to the material. Hot Topics will make it easier for you to do your job the way you want to do it and to be the kind of doctor you want to be. And we’ll have a laugh too. We hope to see you there.

Click here for more information about the course, dates and to enrol.

Dr Simon Curtis
Dr Simon Curtis

Simon is the Medical Director NB Medical Education, an NHS GP in Oxford and Hon Senior Clinical Lecturer in General Practice, Oxford University.

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