GP ST3 Structured Teaching Programme 2020-2021

ST3 Handbook 2020-2021

You can download the handbook here.

GPST3 STP August 2020-Feb 2021 Wednesday Teaching timetable

Mission Statement

  • To build upon the experience gained in Foundation and GP ST1-2 and apply the knowledge to patients in primary care
  • To develop high-quality communication skills by understanding the importance of the doctor-patient relationship
  • To explore the role of a GP as a leader and team-player within both individual patient care and larger healthcare systems
  • To maintain working relationships between trainees, trainers, training practices and the wider health and social care economy
  • To prepare for the end of formal speciality training and develop career and life goals

We want to produce GPs proficient in the delivery of high-quality primary health care, both now and in the future. Teamwork is integral to the role of the GP, and we want to prepare ST3s to take various roles within teams in order to promote effective working and patient care.

At our core, we want to produce GPs that take both good care of themselves, enjoy their careers, and provide an all-rounded, holistic care to their patients, in Bolton and beyond.


The ST3 Structured Teaching Programme is run by Dr Kat Rothwell and Dr Seb Pillon, the Primary Care Medical Educators (PCMEs) for Bolton. They are supported by a variety of expert guest speakers and facilitators, as well as local GPs and GP Trainers.

Dr Nick Pendleton is the Training Programme Director (TPD) and oversees the delivery of the entire GP Training Scheme in Bolton.

The ST3 programme begins formally on Wednesday 16th September, and runs weekly, with breaks at traditional holiday times. Sessions start at 0930 and finish by 1530. Time is allocated weekly for e-portfolio work between 1530-1700 each week. Where sessions are not timetabled, you are expected to agree upon an educational activity with your Trainer.

Sessions are usually held in the Education Centre at Royal Bolton Hospital, and occasionally elsewhere. Due to the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, education is being provided remotely until it is deemed safe and appropriate to meet in person.

The first half of the year focuses on developing communication skills, in preparation for the Remote Consultation Assessment (RCA) as part of your MRCGP examination. The second half od the year focuses more on management and leadership skills.

We highly encourage the use of small group work to develop communication skills. Some of this will take place during the Wednesday programme, but we advocate the use of study groups outside of these times to help develop your skills.


Attendance at the course is mandatory for GPST3s to successfully complete their training period. For full-time trainees, 3 sessions are allocated to educational activity per week; the Wednesday programme comprises two of these three sessions. The other will usually be a tutorial with your GP Trainer.

Due to the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, teaching will be delivered remotely using videoconferencing for at least part of your ST3 year. These sessions will take place using Zoom, which you’ll need to download if you aren’t already using:

You don’t need to pay for an account, a free one is fine. We will send a joining link in advance of every session.

We strongly advise using a desktop or laptop computer for the sessions if you can, and they have a webcam, microphone and speaker enabled. You can use a tablet or mobile to access Zoom too, but some of the functionality is reduced. It is also harder to see everyone on screen, and at times, you might want to use your phone for other tasks.

Accessing sessions can be from home or work, although we’d ask that you try and minimise the chance of possible distractions wherever you are. We recognise that some of you may have caring responsibilities, so all we ask is that you attend sessions with the ability to participate actively.

When we resume using the Education Centre to host sessions, your travel costs can be reclaimed using the North West Deanery forms. Car parking is available at a charge on-site. Please consider car-sharing or using public transport if you can.

GPST3s should consider the scheduled teaching they may miss when planning annual leave. Please notify all planned absence in advance, and all sick leave on the day, to Carole Kennedy at the Education Centre.

GP Trainers are most welcome to attend the Structured Teaching Programme, and other visitors can usually be accommodated with advance request.

Less Than Full Time Trainees

You should agree with your trainer which sessions to attend and when, based on your projected CCT and your allocated educational time per week. For example, you may wish to defer some of the CSA/RCA-based sessions until you are preparing for the examination. The course programme remains broadly similar from year to year, so you can map your needs onto the sessions available.

Out-of-Sync Trainees

The programme is currently based around the traditional “August to August” rotations, but we are conscious that this does not match with trainees who have different training paths.

The curriculum is designed to prepare trainees for life as a GP, and so we believe that overall you will gain the same experience, but in a different order. Nevertheless, we recognise that this may not always correspond with MRCGP examination dates and personal educational needs. We will endeavour to run some examination preparation sessions outside of the main curriculum to support such trainees (such as times when there is usually no scheduled teaching).

Additionally, we would welcome discussion of meeting differing needs, with a combination of alternative sessions or attendance at ST1-2 teaching where this better matches educational goals.


During the year we aim to sample as many parts of the curriculum as possible, but still cover the important areas in depth. The Structured Teaching Programme needs to supplement, not duplicate the function of the training practices. For this reason, the Structured Teaching Programme will concentrate on those areas that may not be able to be covered in the training practices and on those areas where group learning is most useful. We will spend less time covering clinical knowledge as this is best learned in practice or by personal study.


Much of the learning will be based on small group work. The group itself functions as a resource for learning, because by sharing experience with others we can learn far more than by studying in isolation. To help this learning you will be asked to prepare work in advance for some of the sessions.

It follows that non-attendance, late attendance, or failure to prepare work disrupts the group function and effectiveness and thus reduces the educational experience for your colleagues. We ask that you actively participate and contribute to the group, and encourage contribution from your peers. This is an ethic that will be with you throughout your life in General Practice.

Preparing for formal assessment is an important part of the course, and the Structured Teaching Programme is intended to help individuals and the group improve together to pass the exams. Nevertheless, when you become working GPs, self and peer group assessment become far more important and we aim to foster these qualities on the course.

We are keen and open to constructive criticism of the programme so that we meet our aims and continue to provide high-quality training for you and future ST3s.

We have a commitment to make the Structured Teaching Programme useful, supportive, and enjoyable. We are looking forward to working with you this next year, making new (and perhaps life-long) working relationships and friendships.

Finally, on offer, is individual help to any GP registrar who approaches us – if we cannot help then we know someone who can! You just have to ask. 😊

Nick Pendleton & Kat Rothwell & Seb Pillon           Summer 2020

NHS Bolton CCG teaching

All trainees are welcome to attend the NHS Bolton monthly GP teaching, which usually occurs on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month. Local speakers focus on a clinical topic with Bolton-specific advice, and meetings are widely attended by local GPs. When held previously, a tasty free buffet lunch was served, and provided a good networking opportunity.

We leave gaps in the ST3 programme and encourage you attend these sessions, unless you prefer to evidence another form of educational activity instead.

During COVID-19 restrictions, teaching will be delivered using MS Teams, which means you need to have activated your email account – this is usually part of your practice induction process, and you may already be using. If not, please arrange with your practice IT lead to set up an account.

You can use MS Team at your practice, or download links for the application to your own device as follows:

Out of Hours Induction

Your out of hours induction session, will take place in August usually at BARDOC Waters Meeting Health Centre, Navigation Park, Waters Meeting Road, Bolton. BL1 8TT.

You should receive an e-mail shortly confirming details; if you have not been contacted and your peers have, please inform Carole Kennedy at the Education Centre.

The rota team will commence allocating session in August and would you please therefore check your e-mails as your first session may be booked prior to the induction date.

A PDF version of this handbook is available