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Information for GPs & Med Students

Training at Bideford MC - a statement from Dr Steffan James

"I had a strong sense that Bideford Medical Centre was where I wanted to undertake my final year of GP training, having had great feedback from previous registrars who had worked there in preceding years.

This was reinforced when I met Geoff Spencer and Mark Clayton at a practice speed dating session, put on by the Training Program Directors in North Devon. Getting on with your trainer is an important part of having an enjoyable and productive year in training and I definitely felt Geoff and Mark were likeminded people to myself, with a real passion for teaching.

Within my first few weeks of working at Bideford Medical Centre I was really impressed by its high level of organisation and by its warmth. This view has only grown throughout the year. With reception, nursing and medical teams all having coffee together at 11.00am there is a real sense that it is a team effort in trying to give the best care for patients in the Bideford area.

As a Specialist Trainee (ST) year 3 doctor I was apprehensive about getting up to speed as a fully qualified GP complicated by the need of passing exams and completing assessments on the E-portfolio. However, my trainer Geoff was brilliant at building up my confidence and skills throughout the year, as well as keeping one eye on the requirements of the E-portfolio that need to be completed. Having two 1-hour tutorials a week with Geoff was an important time to develop my vocational and life skills needed to achieve a good balance between professional and family life.

Throughout the year I was given the opportunity to develop areas where I needed more confidence or experience, through attending clinics at the hospital. Furthermore, Geoff also encouraged me to spend time with all members of the Primary Healthcare Team – a useful exercise in gaining knowledge and developing relationships in the Bideford area.

Bideford Medical Centre really prides itself on teaching and education. With Geoff Spencer and Ed Bond now being the two trainers, who are friendly, education driven and inspiring to work with. In addition, the rest of the medical team is always approachable if needed.

I hope this gives you a good flavour of what a year at Bideford Medical Centre is like. I would encourage all trainees who feel that Bideford Medical Centre may be for them to come to a coffee morning and meet Geoff and Ed as well as the rest of the team.

If you are looking for a welcoming, modern practice with a real emphasis on education then Bideford Medical Centre is for you!"

Bideford Medical Centre has achieved a grading of Excellent in the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education Quality Panel Report (quality panels for General Practice placements took place in December 2015).


This grading is a positive reflection of the medical centre’s continued dedication to GP Registrar training in the South West. 

For further details of the Quality Panel Report please follow this link:

Sample GP Registrar Table


What are the study leave arrangements for registrars? 

The GP Registrar shall have an allowance of up to thirty-five days of approved study leave including attendance at a day release course, on full pay and allowances, during the twelve months in the practice or pro rata for shorter periods. Study leave must be negotiated between the GP Registrar and the trainer subject to approval by the Training Programme Directors.


How are registrars involved in on-call and out of hours work? 

Initial shifts with their Trainer, followed by sessions with approved Out Of Hours Supervisors form the practice or locality until ≥ 72 hours of work has been completed (competency based).


Can you help me find accommodation?

Excellent, well priced, rented accommodation is available locally due to the great provision for visiting tourists-quaint village cottages, converted barn complexes or a house with a view across the meandering river or rugged coastline. We have numerous friends and local agency contacts who can help you find the best place to suit your needs.

I’m interested in being a GPR / F2 / Medical Student at your practice - what should I do next?


We hope that by now you'll be keen to visit us in Bideford. Please don't hesitate to contact either Dr Geoff Spencer (GPRs), Dr Ed Bond (Medical Students) or Ms Caroline Sanford (Practice Manager) who will be delighted to answer your questions or show you around. We look forward to hearing from you soon and good luck with your Deanery interview! 

Email contact:

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