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University's Academic GP Rewarded for Boosting Region's Medical Education Support

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The University of Worcester’s first academic GP, Dr Duncan Shrewsbury, has been honoured for his commitment to building a support network for trainee and newly-qualified GPs in the Midlands.

Dr Shrewsbury has won the Associate in Training (AiT) award from the Midland Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners, which represents almost 4,000 GPs – at varying stages of their careers – throughout the region.

The annual prize is awarded to a trainee GP who has displayed exemplary work, and dedication to a particular professional project.

Dr Shrewsbury, who was appointed to the academic GP trainee post in September, was put forward for the award after playing a key role in developing the mentoring and support network available to those in the early stages of their career.

He explains: “I have had a longstanding interest in learner support in medical education, and the aim of this project was to create a network of trained GP mentors across the region, to support the Health Education West Midlands (HEWM) Professional Support Unit’s Local Training Support Network.

“This was intended to complement the established Faculty of Mentors, providing proactive support to trainees, early-career GPs and others in need. The plan was then to expand the group of mentors and the pool that we have so we can provide support proactively rather than reactively and a little earlier and more locally.”

Dr Shrewsbury created a course – the first of which was attended by 16 mentors – and a handbook to train experienced GP educators in Egan’s ‘Skilled Helper’ model of mentoring.

He continues: “In the first wave, we have managed to double HEWM’s Faculty of Mentors, and we’re now looking to fill the gaps in terms of geographical locations to ensure that support is readily available to all.”

Dr Shrewsbury’s role at the University, which sees him divide his time between the academic setting and seeing patients at a GP surgery in Redditch, is closely linked with the development of programmes around Primary Care and Clinical Education, and the enhancement of the University’s postgraduate courses and programme of research.

He says that the post has given him the opportunity to pursue his interest in leadership, as well as develop pioneering projects for the benefit of the University’s students.

“My time at the University has been incredible,” he says. “There are many things I’m doing now that I wouldn’t have thought I would get the chance to do.

“Currently, as well as being very firmly focused on the modules that I’m leading in the Physician Associate programme, I am concentrating on the launch of an MRes (Research Master’s degree) which will be the first distance-learning-based MRES at Worcester.”