Dr Laura McCusker

Following completing my FY2 year in Ayrshire, I worked in Melbourne for 4 years in A&E and Palliative Medicine. When I returned to the UK for my GP training I was delighted to return to Ayrshire.

I trained at The Cathcart Street Practice in Ayr, a very supportive practice of young, forward thinking GPs. Ayrshire offers training posts with a wide variety of specialties, which enabled me to choose rotations to gain experience in areas I had not previously had the opportunity to work in during my foundation training or my time in Australia. Regular Day Release sessions offer the opportunity to frequently catch up with your peers whilst gaining excellent GP focussed teaching and exam preparation including a practice CSA exam. The secondary care team also offers regular primary care focussed training for foundation and GP trainees which was a significant input.

Following my GP training I had the opportunity for a GP with extended role post in Ayrshire. I worked as a four session salaried GP in Kilwinning Medical Practice and four sessions in the Ayrshire Hospice. This was an excellent opportunity to further my GP experience as a newly qualified GP in a supportive training practice and allowed me to further develop my knowledge and skills in an area of interest and great significance in GP. I feel this was an invaluable programme which has allowed me to feel more confident in GP and palliative care management and allowed me to understand more about the Health board as a whole and build rapport and relationships with primary and secondary care teams which will benefit me for the rest of my career.

My training and extended role post in Ayrshire and Arran allowed me to appreciate the benefits of working in this Health board. We have two excellent District General Hospitals, with all the services available to fully support our patients, but with a more personal environment compared to some of the larger city hospitals. This facilitates better communication between primary and secondary care and enables you to feel part of a larger team and that your voice can be heard. The Health Board also covers urban and rural areas with a wide socio-demographic patient group, keeping the work varied and interesting.

I have now returned as a Partner to my training practice at Cathcart Street and am also the GP Clinical Lead in Ayrshire and Arran for Cancer and Palliative Care. I currently travel to Ayr from Glasgow, but I chose to do this as I consider who you work with is the most important aspect of a challenging job. Having supportive, dynamic, sociable and hardworking colleagues makes for a much better day at work. We are also lead by a driven LMC, who ensure we are well supported and have access to a wide ranging multi-disciplinary team. I also do some out of hours shifts which are well organised. Having embarked on two new roles at the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I have been impressed with how NHS Ayrshire and Arran Primary Care Team and LMC have managed this. We have weekly MS Teams meetings and emails to discuss developments and issues. Our management team are front facing, approachable and happy to take feedback and respond and adapt to concerns highlighted by the team. I am confident I have made the right decision to work here and look forward to continuing my career here.