The Training Programme Director - Dr Sarah Duncan
Specialty Programme Co-ordinator - Gillian Conway
HR Officer, Lead Employer Trust – Jenny Lear
Information about the Specialty
Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) is the medical specialty concerned with the screening, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Contact tracing or partner notification, disease surveillance and prevention work are also important features of the work in the specialty. Other components of GUM services vary according to local need but may include the diagnosis and management of genital dermatoses, contraceptive services and psychosexual problems.
The specialty is consultant led but relies heavily on multidisciplinary teams including nurse practitioners and health advisers. Collaboration and joint working with primary care services is another important feature of the service.
In the North East there are GUM clinics at Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland, North Tyneside, Durham, Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Hartlepool, North Tees and Middlesbrough.
There are 4 SpR posts in the North East. The trainees rotate between the clinics in Newcastle and Sunderland with attachments to the Infectious Disease Unit in Newcastle.
Why choose Genito-Urinary Medicine?
GUM is an extremely rewarding and exciting career. It cross-covers such a wide range of specialties such as Dermatology, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Gynaecology, Epidemiology and Urology and as such knowledge and experience is gained in all of these fields of medicine. It is a particularly patient-centred specialty which requires good communication and counselling skills as often sensitive issues will arise. Most of our clients are not acutely unwell and often with one single intervention we can resolve their concerns and prevent onward spread of infection benefiting the public health of the community. Most of our clinics are drop-in clinics which act as a one-stop shop for both GUM and Contraception. There are always innovative developments particularly with regard to treatments such as new anti-retroviral medications and modern molecular diagnostics. In a relatively small specialty nationwide there are opportunities to sub-specialise.
As a trainee what can I expect from my training programme?
This is a four-year training programme currently rotating between the Newcroft Centre in the City Centre of Newcastle and City Hospitals Sunderland (Sunderland Royal Hospital). Two years are spent in each training location. The first year is general GUM with 2 months of Gynaecology, significant contraception experience is gained in the second year and in the final 2 years there are placements in Public Health, Microbiology and Genital Dermatology. Although experience of HIV Medicine is gained at each base unit and also a weekly HIV Clinic at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, in-patient HIV experience is achieved by yearly 2 month attachments to the Infectious Diseases Ward at RVI. There are also opportunities to attend other clinics allied to the specialty such as Hepatitis and Andrology. Trainees work towards completing their Diploma of Genito-Urinary Medicine, Diploma of HIV Medicine and Diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Health during the 4 year period.
In the North East Genito-Urinary Medicine is a close-knit friendly specialty with close co-operation and collaboration between Sexual Health Departments. There are regular regional network meetings where we work together to produce regional projects, guidelines and teaching. The outcome of these often will result in poster presentations at national conferences or journal publications. With attachment to the nearest regional HIV Centre significant experience of managing complex medical issues affecting patients living with HIV will be attained. There are also opportunities to attend sub-speciality clinics throughout the region. In addition to the above quarterly Northern BASHH (British Association of Sexual Health and HIV) and Northern HIV Network meetings trainees have a formal protected educational afternoon each month with regional and national speakers.
What our trainees say:
Every single day is different; you never know which challenges you will be faced with! The skills needed to deal with these patients are very different from those in other specialties and it is the small challenges like this that keep the job interesting.
Working in GUM you tend not to only act as a doctor but a confidante and often a “friend”. It is an honour that patients let you into their lives to the extent they do. The clinic patients are equally as interesting, every one having a different presentation and different needs.
G.U.M is such a great specialty with a wide variety of avenues to go down. Usually we do 1 clinic per week in the Infectious Diseases department in Newcastle and spend 2 months per year there experiencing in-patient HIV work. You train in contraception and do placements in Obs and Gynae, Microbiology, Dermatology and Public Health and can train to deal with victims of sexual assault if you wish. This exposure means you can develop special interests for when working as a consultant. It is much more rounded training than some of the other specialties.
Current vacancy information (links to HEE website recruitment page)
To find out more about our region and Trusts please visit the Find Your Place website.