Dr Simon Wade is founder of Webinars For GPs
– the first medical GP membership site delivering
weekly, live and interactive, online cme webinars –
CPD for GPs – ‘from the comfort of your own home’.
Here Simon shares something of his life and work….
“I appreciate the time you are investing here to find out more about the novel way that Webinars For GPs can deliver convenient quality interactive online CPD training and education from the comfort of your own home.
First though it’s only fair to tell you a little about myself .
I’m Simon Wade and I come from a fairly large family and have five brothers, have a large extended family myself and am blessed to be married to Jadz, and between us we have two sons and four daughters, also now three grandchildren.
We have had our own health challenges to cope with, but have learned to be thankful for each day and what it might bring, try to recognise what is of true value in this life and are both grateful for doing work we still enjoy and in our own ways attempting to serve greatly.
I am a medical GP with over twenty years experience working in the NHS, sixteen as a full time partner in a busy town and country practice in Corby, Northamptonshire. Since 2008 I have been working as a GP locum mostly in the same county and enjoying this stage of my career where, freed from the responsibilities of full time partnership, I can explore other novel ways of helping patients and colleagues.
I helped provide a voice for local colleagues working in the ‘out of hours’ setting by sitting on the board of Integrated Care 24 Ltd (IC24 Ltd) for a couple of years until 1st May 2014 (formerly South East Health Ltd). IC24 Ltd is a not for profit Social Enterprise organisation providing a range of evening and weekend urgent care services amongst other ventures. They also provide some sponsorship for the cpd webinars.
Working as a locum in various localities led to frequent frustration at delays in accessing prompt and timely physiotherapy resources for patients without private health insurance. This motivated me to develop the online physiotherapy instructional video resource at www.your-online-physio.com which is undergoing trials now and is aimed at greatly improving the help people can access for the commoner problems for which physiotherapy is appropriate .
As I will explain further down I have always been interested in learning and Webinars For GPs was born out of a need for more time efficiency in the delivery of teaching and training from experts for the ongoing CPD requirements of myself and so many time pressed colleagues.
This project has also only been possible due to working as a locum and the tremendous support of my beautiful, loving and incredibly tolerant wife and the support of my dear family.
CPD for GPs – the challenge
I have, like so many colleagues, tried to keep up to date as best I can with the current best practice for this or that condition. There are only 24 hours in my days and the challenge is often getting the best out of the time available whether at work or play or when doing my CPD.
The current guidelines for appraisal and revalidation for the purpose of continued licensing of doctors in the UK includes a requirement for an average of 50 credits per year of continuing professional development (CPD) or 250 credits over a 5 year revalidation cycle. A credit is generally accepted as an hour invested in CPD.
It’s not always easy to plan regular CPD into the lives of busy GPs whether partners, locums or other sessional doctors. As a locum I found I was often not able to attend ‘ in hours’ protected learning sessions, and one of the downsides of locum work can be the relative isolation and reduced ability to access various CPD modalities available to partners and salaried colleagues. And as a locum there’s no paid study leave!
In my role as a GP, whether previously as a partner in a practice or now as a locum GP I have experienced a wide spectrum of learning situations. I have travelled to conferences, workshops, seminars in my locality and further afield around the country.
Like all GPs I’m aware of the critical importance of staying as up to date as possible with current thinking on best practice in the many and varied aspects of our work. Unlike specialists who focus on one specific area we have to have a good understanding of the whole spectrum of different medical conditions.
Moreover we need to be aware of the latest thinking in terms of diagnosis, treatment and often ongoing monitoring , management and support for so many chronic conditions.
Add to this the challenge brought by the increasing complexity of multiple pathologies coexisting in our ageing population and it’s no wonder so many of us can feel overwhelmed at times. But we continue and do the best we can day in day out.
Ultimately our continued professional development and ongoing learning counters the risk of getting outdated in our medical practice and benefits our patients aswell as enhancing our job satisfaction and sense of value in what we do.
But how can we do that in a manner which is sustainable and enjoyable given our already pressured and busy working lifestyles?
Webinars For GPs
I came across the webinar model of learning in a different context when attending a study weekend part of which was showcasing how various businesses were embracing online and other digital technologies to deliver quality services that were in demand. One of the examples was presented by Anthony Chadwick, a vet, who had started doing veterinary education through the medium of web based seminars – webinars.
At a pre-advertised time he would deliver the talk using his laptop computer, a set of headphones with a microphone, and his PowerPoint slide presentation was visible to all who logged in to a virtual online meeting room.
Everyone could hear and see his talk, clearly, no problems of sitting too far from the screen or finding oneself behind someone siting tall or with a hairstyle that blocks out the view in front. It was as if everyone had a front row seat, the best seat in the room, but without the awkwardness that so many feel when sitting ‘at the front’ of a meeting.
The other great benefit was that attendees could type in their questions which could be answered just the same as if they had been asked at a physical meeting – so truly interactive, and without the awkwardness that some of us, including myself, can feel when sticking a hand up amongst peers to ask a question we hope won’t seem too simplistic.
He found there was plenty of interaction as the barrier to asking questions was removed – queries could be submitted to the speaker but anonymously to other attendees if that was wished.
I immediately saw that this model of sharing knowledge and learning could easily be applied in general medical practice. And especially for GP locums who’s training needs are not routinely taken into account within the practices they serve.
And as locums we sometimes are missed off email notifications about upcoming training and CPD opportunities by the very nature of our working style.
For myself I’ve had the experience of missing out on day time ring fenced learning and training. Typically i would be working in a neighbouring patch exactly when my locality was providing protected learning time (PLT) one afternoon per month, when practices closed and the expectation was that the time was indeed protected for learning. Locally in Northants, the Out of Hours service provides cover for all participating practices, and if enough get involved the cost to individual practices is relatively small.
There is still a cost to these PLT afternoons as they are called; typically the practice ‘loses’ a certain number of appointment slots on the afternoon they are closed so there is increased pressure on appointments the day before and a couple of days after the training day.
I’ve heard many colleagues complain that if the standard of teaching is not good they often feel its not been a good use of their time.
As a GP locum if I take time out in the day for training that’s unpaid time, so even free training isn’t really free, and all of this in the context of moving between practices, coping with potentially new systems and procedures, and working with new teams. So it’s often a bigger challenge for locum GPs to gather the yearly 50 credits needed for our annual appraisal and ultimately revalidation.
The Pain of The Traditional CPD Evening Meeting
The webinar model is so enticing! Allow me to paint a not unfamiliar picture to help contrast the old way against the new…….
Imagine for a moment if you never again had to endure the stress of rushing off to drive to a meeting after a ‘full on’ busy day at work , no time to head home first, feeling guilty at not getting home to have some time with family, catch up , eat, and kick back and relax.
Imagine never again having to get to a venue you may not be familiar with, and even with satnav it can be stressful getting there , and once there you may or may not have a snack or buffet supper. No more angst about whether to have a glass or two of wine. No more generic hot buffet, bland to suit all tastes and ending up pleasing few.
No more pain of the obligatory if slightly awkward chat with the rep from the sponsoring pharmaceutical company. No more having to endure the overly warm meeting room, never again the uncomfortable chairs, the less than satisfactory seating arrangements, whereby you may find yourself facing the wrong way at a round table, or worse sitting behind someone with a much bigger body frame than you or an extravagant expansive hairstyle so that you have to twist to see the speaker or the screen .
Imagine no more risk of not being able to see the detail on the slides or hear the speaker clearly. Dream if you will of no more awkward hesitation, deciding whether to ask that question, or not, fearing you will seem ignorant to your peers.
And no more driving home after saying your good byes and clutching your single hour certificate which has taken three hours to acquire, mulling over in your mind with every bend on the dark roads home whether it was worth the cost in time for you and your loved ones at home.
Webinars For GPs – the modern efficient choice for CPD
Instead imagine a new, smarter and so much easier way.
You finish work and head home after a busy day. There’s a happy feeling knowing the day’s work is done and you are looking forward to getting home, kicking off your shoes and seeing whoever is at home waiting for you whether thats your loved one and children or whether you’re greeted with a purr or a friendly bark and a wagging tail.
So after some proper catch up time with your family and tasty home cooked food you feel relaxed , rested , and certainly not stressed and in a much better frame of mind to retire to your favoured place for using your computer and you log in to the virtual meeting room and enjoy a quality presentation with clear view of the slide presentation and no problems hearing the speaker. There are no barriers to you submitting questions so they can be answered , a truly interactive experience with no time wasted. So one credit /hour of CPD takes one hour to achieve.
And you know that each week at a regular time and day you will be able to do the same , have an enjoyable and productive hour, receiving quality training and education, efficiently and effectively learning in a conducive environment – truly smart CPD made easy. That certainty removes a lot of the stress and anxiety of the annual obligation to collect these credits.
This Is YOUR CPD resource…
And best of all, I want all members to have a say in the selection of speakers and topics as we go forward, this is a fantastic platform on which to deliver ongoing education. You can join and as a member have an active role in your investment, choosing and shaping what is delivered , your CPD requirements tailor made and delivered in a manner that suits your needs and your lifestyle and so in turn benefits not only you but also your patients.
Thank you for taking the time to read these words and don’t forget if you have not done so already, sign up now for our Live Webinars – I’m trying to remove any obstacles to you giving it a try.
Dr. Simon Wade