GP ST2 Structured Teaching Programme

Link to: August 2020 – Feb 2021 Tuesday teaching programme

Link to: Feb 2021 – Aug 2021 Tuesday teaching programme

Bolton Structured Teaching Programme ST2 Handbook 2020-2021

Mission Statement

  • To build upon the primarily hospital-acquired experience gained in Foundation and GP ST1 and start to consider patients and systems in primary care
  • To understand the importance of high-quality consultation skills as an integral part of the GP skillset
  • To start to apply knowledge and experience from hospital-based care to patients in primary care, considering the whole patient
  • To maintain working relationships between trainees, trainers, training practices and the wider health and social care economy
  • To prepare for the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) exam

We want to produce GPs proficient in the delivery of high-quality primary health care, both now and in the future. In GPST2, we encourage trainees to see themselves as emerging specialists in the holistic care of people, not just as patients, but as entities that exist within families and communities.

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 ST2 Structured Teaching Programme is run by Dr Seb Pillon & Dr Kat Rothwell 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 Julian Tomkinson, and other staff at The Oaks Family Practice delivery the ST2 Communication Skills for the Consultation course, which trainees in a GP or GP+ placement will attend on alternate weeks.

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

The ST2 programme begins formally on Tuesday 1st September, and runs fortnightly, with breaks at traditional holiday times. Sessions start at 1330 and finish by 1630. 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.

If you are in a GP/GP+ placement, in the alternate weeks you will also attend the Communication Skills for the Consultation course. Sessions are usually held at Oaks Family Practice at Crompton Health Centre. Sessions start at 1400 and finish by 1600. These begin on Tuesday 8th September.

We usually meet in person but sessions will be held by videoconference in line with HEE guidance until further notice.

Our overarching theme for ST2 is to “Ask the Expert”. We invite speakers and run sessions based around topics that you are less likely to encounter in hospital medicine, or even in primary care. Looking ahead to the sessions and thinking of difficult cases that relate may help ask useful questions that help you and your colleagues.

We try to focus on the RCGP Capabilities of “Applying Clinical Knowledge” and “Caring for the Whole Person” over the course of the year. The Applied Knowledge Test is often considered by ST2s and we try to consider curriculum areas less likely to be met by placements to help broaden knowledge and experience of these. The teaching programme is designed to prepare you for life as a GP; if you follow that, then passing the exams is much easier. We do not hold an “AKT course” as it wouldn’t cater to everyone’s learning style or needs. Having said that, we will try and reference in teaching the kinds of areas how that week’s topic might manifest as an AKT question.

For those considering the AKT exam, we highly recommend the following podcast from HEE NW, which details great advice for preparation:


Attendance at the course is mandatory for GPST2s to successfully complete their training period. Leave should be notified in advance to Carole Kennedy, and we will keep a note of who attends sessions by register at the end of each session.

Due to the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, teaching will be delivered remotely using videoconferencing for at least part of your ST2 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.

GPST2s 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 notice.

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, just 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 or ST3 teaching where these better match 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 and hospital placements. 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 programme remains unplanned to allow us to coordinate sessions later in the year around topics you would prefer.

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 ST2s.

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