Skip to main content

All Hail Red Whale: reflections on the GP update course

By Maham Stanyon, GPVTS ST2
Do you practise according to guidelines? Can you hand on heart, pen to prescription pad, say that you are up to date with the latest recommendations in managing pre-diabetes, preventing falls in the elderly, and can rattle off the latest NICE cancer guidelines with confidence? Even before you get to the guidance itself, there is the dilemma of which one to read; keeping up to date with NICE, SIGN, Royal College recommendations and various expert panels is a full time job in itself, let alone treating patients, tending to QOF targets, carrying out audits and engaging with eportfolio. Even with 10 minutes per patient, where is the room in our day for browsing the latest updates?

Enter the Red Whale GP update course; a course compiled by practising GPs giving an intelligent focused breakdown of the latest evidence in everything that presents to general practice. During our one-day course, akin to a normal clinic, we went from atrial fibrillation and cows’ milk protein allergy, to contraception in epilepsy and diabetes; discussing not only the headline updates but looking at where that evidence came from, quoting statistics from the trials and highlighting where guidance is conflicting and how to best implement recommendations with a practical emphasis, always mindful of the patient in front of you.

Previously a sceptic as to the value of such resources, I am now a proud convert using the site not just for guidance on guidelines, but for checking the latest information on the value of drug and non-drug treatments and evidence based prescribing to give that information to the patient in real time. The site goes a step further as it is possible to record this learning for use in demonstrating continuous professional development, which may prove vital post qualification when facing revalidation.

The scope and breadth of the Red Whale syllabus is astonishing and it is pleasing that none of the detail from smaller trials is left out. Finally I feel there is a resource that addresses clinical guidance from a holistic viewpoint giving you the tools to inform patients who want to know everything, explains the evidence for alternative treatments, and provides a structured approach suitable for busy clinicians with the added bonus of being free from pharmaceutical influences.

In the quest for keeping up to date I feel we have stumbled upon the holy grail, as GP trainees across west London shout “All hail Red Whale”.


Popular posts from this blog

Introducing the WATCCH Project - Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare

The Undergraduate Primary Care Education team in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial College London has kicked off an exciting new work experience programme called WATCCH – Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare.
There is a shortage of work experience in the health sector for pupils, particularly for those who have no connection to healthcare professionals. WATCCH aims to open up work experience opportunities in the healthcare sector by offering placements for sixth form pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to shadow various allied healthcare professionals in general practices. These 16/17 year olds have completed their GCSEs with good grades, do not have placements elsewhere, and are the first in their family applying to university. 
Pupils will attend a pre-placement induction at Imperial College's Charing Cross Hospital Campus, and will then have a 3-day work experience session at a general practice where they will observe a variety of allie…

What makes a good placement?

In the New Year, Dr Kevin Patel a GP ST3 on the Imperial VTS, takes a reflective look at the factors that go into making a good clinical attachment for trainees.
As GP trainees we are ‘encouraged’ to reflect; challenging encounters with patients, conversations with colleagues that could have gone better, moments when you felt like you were born to do this job. All of this is good fodder for your ePortfolio.
Not one to miss out on a reflective opportunity, I took a step back from a discussion that was taking place about difficult rotations, a conversation I imagine that is oft-repeated amongst GPs and hospital doctors up and down the country, and thought about how we could use our experience as GP trainees to feed into this.
As trainees we rotate into diverse placements, from paediatrics to public health to care of the elderly. I counted at least 15 distinct departments I have worked in since finishing medical school just over 5 years ago. This is more than any other specialty trainee…

Say hello, wave goodbye...

Our GP Derm and Paeds Course Lead Dr Emma Metters sadly left us this month to take a new post at St George's. She reflects on her time at Imperial below:
My time as GP Derm and Paeds Course Lead has come to an end but the good news is the wonderful Senita Mountjoy is returning from her maternity leave to take up the post again.  She brings so much energy and enthusiasm for the courses that she was instrumental in the design of initial delivery of.  I am sure she has many ideas of where she wants to take them so watch this space for new and exciting teaching developments on the horizon.
This is not really goodbye as I will be continuing my involvement in Imperial in various ways so may well cross paths with some of you again.  I have really enjoyed my time at Imperial, in several different roles, and have gained a wealth of experience which I will be taking with me to my new role as Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care at St George’s University. 
I hope many of you continue your invo…