ScotGEM – an update on Scotland’s only graduate-entry rural generalist-focused undergraduate programme, including student career intentions

Part of Special Series: WONCA World Rural Health Conference Abstracts 2022go to url


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Jon Dowell
1 ScotGEM Programme Director *

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Andrew O'Malley
ScotGEM Deputy Programme Director

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Andrew D MacFarlane
3 MPharm MBChB, Final year student ORCID logo

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Shalini Gupta
4 Lecturer, Pharmacology & Therapeutics


*Prof Jon Dowell


1, 3, 4 University of Dundee, Dundee, Tayside, UK


10 January 2023 Volume 23 Issue 1


RECEIVED: 20 September 2022

ACCEPTED: 20 September 2022


Dowell J, O'Malley A, MacFarlane AD, Gupta S.  ScotGEM – an update on Scotland’s only graduate-entry rural generalist-focused undergraduate programme, including student career intentions. Rural and Remote Health 2023; 23: 8151. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH8151


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Introduction: In 2016, the Scottish Government commissioned ScotGEM, a generalist focused graduate entry medical programme. The first cohort of 55 students entered in 2018 and will graduate in 2022. Key unique features of ScotGEM include over 50% of clinical education being led by GPs, the creation of a team of dedicated Generalist Clinical Mentors (GCMs) who support this, a geographically dispersed approach to delivery, and a focus on healthcare improvement activities. This presentation will focus on the progress of our inaugural cohort in terms of progression, performance, and career intentions in comparison with the related internationally literature.

Methods: Progression and performance will be reported based upon assessment outcomes. Career intentions were assessed via an electronic questionnaire exploring career preferences, including speciality, location and reasoning distributed to the first three cohorts. We utilised questions derived from key UK and Australian studies to allow direct comparison with the existing literature.

Results: The response rate was 77% (126/163). ScotGEM students’ progression rate was high and performance directly comparable with Dundee students. A positive attitude towards general practice and emergency medicine careers was reported. A high proportion of students intended to remain in Scotland, with half interested in working in rural or remote settings.

Discussion: Overall, results suggest ScotGEM is meeting the aims of its Mission, a finding of key workforce relevance in Scotland and other rural European contexts that supplements the existing international evidence base. The role of GCMs has been instrumental and may be applicable in other areas.

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