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GP Mentoring

General Practitioners (GPs) are the lynchpin of the NHS. The vast majority of patient interactions occur at the primary care interface with GPs bearing responsibility for providing care in an under resourced system. Being at the forefront of care provision can result in significant stresses for GPs with a significant impact on their personal and professional lives.

Through feedback from GP appraisers it has become apparent that many GPs could benefit from engaging with a mentor at various stages of their career with a view to helping them navigate a course through the challenges they are facing. The GP Mentoring scheme has been designed to offer such support.

To find out more below:

The Northern Ireland GP Mentoring Scheme

The Northern Ireland General Practitioner Mentoring Scheme is intended to help GPs to address challenges they are facing. All of the mentors in the scheme are GPs with a broad range of experience. Information about the GP mentors is contained within the biography section of the mentoring site.

To avail of the GP mentoring program through NIMDTA, GPs must have completed their GP training, gained their CCT and be on the Northern Ireland Primary Medical Performers List.

Mentoring discussions are completely confidential. Written records of mentor discussions will not be kept and information about mentees will not be provided to third parties. The only exception to this may arise if the mentor has concerns relating to patient safety or probity, should this occur the mentoring session would be stopped and the concern and action needed explained to the mentee.

For mentor payment purposes, the mentor will advise the administration team that the mentoring session has taken place. Generally up to five mentoring sessions are offered initially, further sessions may be offered if appropriate.

In order to facilitate development of the scheme both mentors and mentees maybe invited to give anonymous feedback. Mentees may also be invited to complete a confidential, anonymous questionnaire relating to their sense of well-being before the mentoring and on completion of the final mentoring session. Information from these questionnaires will remain confidential and individual doctors will never be identified.

Based on existing GP mentoring programs elsewhere(1), areas that GPs could find useful to discuss with a mentor include:

  • Current work problems
  • Team relationships and leadership issues
  • Performance issues
  • Decision making
  • Time management issues
  • Work-life balance

Anticipated benefits of mentoring include:

  • Helping you to work more efficiently
  • Helping you to work better within your team
  • Improving your self-awareness
  • Improving your motivation

The mentor will encourage you to discuss challenges you are experiencing and help you to explore these issues.

The mentor will:

  • Be a professional GP colleague who will be available to listen to and understand your situation in a non-judgemental manner.
  • Act as a soundboard and explore issues with you and may help you to find a way through.
  • Reflect your thoughts back to you to help you ‘throw light’ on your situation and how you may cope with things.

The mentor will not:

  • Tell you what to do.
  • Be your representative or act in any way on your behalf.

To find out more click the following links:


  1. London Deanery 2010 The first five hundred. A report on London Deanery’s Coaching and Mentoring Service 2008-2010 NHS London


The GP Mentoring Team gratefully acknowledge the assistance of everyone involved in developing the GP Mentoring programme with particular thanks to Dr Patricia Houlston, Elaine Fugard and Dr Camille Harron.

How to apply for Mentoring

How to apply for mentoring:

  1. Review the mentor biographies on the website and chose up to three possible GP mentors
  2. E-mail the mentoring team at stating your wish to engage in mentoring and give the following details:
    • Name,
    • GMC number,
    • Contact details.
    • Names of three preferred mentors
  1. The mentoring team will acknowledge receipt of your application and may forward a link to an anonymous, confidential pre-mentoring wellbeing questionnaire.
  2. If one of your preferred mentors has availability your email will be forwarded to them.
  3. If your preferred mentors do not have availability you will be contacted by email with the name of an alternative available mentor and with your agreement your email will be forwarded to them
  4. The mentor will contact you directly to arrange the first mentoring session at an agreed time and place
  5. Further mentoring sessions will be agreed directly with the mentor.
  6. Once the mentoring has been completed the mentoring team may contact you for confidential feedback about the scheme and with a link to a final confidential, anonymous wellbeing questionnaire.

All information from questionnaires will remain confidential and individual doctors will never be identified.

Meet the Mentors

Meet the Mentors – Mentor Biographies

Dr Derval Dolan

I am a GP principal in Derry and have worked there for over 25 years. I am also a GP trainer and have been a programme director in the West since August 2003.I have been responsible for the training of many local western GPs and subsequently have a lot of experience in issues surrounding young GPs starting off in partnerships. I am an undergraduate teacher for QUB medical students and I also teach the Masters in Medical Education for QUB.

Dr Susan Crawford

I have been a full time partner in Ballymena for the past 3 yrs and was a part- time partner prior to that for 7 years . I am also a trainer and a keen advocate of HIIT . I fully appreciate how general practice has changed over that time and I can see the increased pressures facing the frontline providers as we endeavour to provide 24/7 cover 365 days a year . I therefore feel very strongly that the way we work also needs to change and we do need to develop resilience to the stressors that contribute to GP burnout and protect ourselves. In essence we need to be kind to our patients and kind to ourselves.

Dr Anne Doherty

I have been a GP partner in a large inner city practice for 33 years. During this time I managed to combine motherhood with practice .I became a GP trainer in 2003 and completed the Masters in Medical Education in 2007. I enjoyed the experience of studying and working with younger doctors. I was awarded the RCGP patient nominated award in the same year In 2015 I became a GP appraiser and this experience highlighted the need for some other supportive role for doctors. I now work part time in the same practice and still enjoy my work.

Dr Jenny Gibson

I am a sessional GP in the Northern area and I also work as a GP appraiser. I qualified from QUB in 1994 and have previously worked as a GP partner and trainer. In my career I have had to navigate many challenges and the support of my peers has been invaluable. I am passionate that as GPs we should have access to professional support and encouragement. I’m a mum to teenagers (always challenging!) and I love reading, cooking and walks on the North Coast with my husband and our dog.

Dr Stephen Harte

I am a GP who is also an executive leadership coach recommended by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.  Particular areas of interest include: managing career transitions, dealing with conflict in teams, work place culture, time management, wellbeing and burnout, career planning, & personal leadership development. My portfolio career includes sessional GP work, being an appraiser, GP specialty training, undergraduate medical education, tropical medicine and overseas volunteer work. I love football, gigs, and travel!

Dr Dan Hayes

I have been a full time GP partner and GP trainer in Bangor for over 10 years. I am still happy going to work most days.  I believe in General Practice at its best, as a noble profession and a powerful force for good in our society. I believe in mentoring as a way of empowering, equipping and supporting one another as we journey through a career that is not without its challenges. Aside from training, my interest is in palliative care, playing a role in helping people to die well at home. Away from work what keeps me sane is time with family, walking my dog and riding my bike.

Dr Katharine Marshall

I qualified from QUB in 1984, have been a GP partner in Armagh since 1988 & a GP trainer for 26 years. I have a broad perspective on all aspects of being a General Practitioner and its ups and downs. I feel privileged & derive benefit from being involved in GP training and hope I can offer support to colleagues beyond training, through mentoring.

Dr Amanda McCollum

I have been a part-time GP partner in Cloughmills, since 2003, prior to this I was a full-time GP locum for five years. I have been actively involved with supervising GP trainees for several years. I also train undergraduate medical students from QUB. The ever changing model of NHS care, and General Practice in particular, has given me insight into the demands and strains on all of us.

Dr Jenny McCollum

I am a GP Partner in the Northern Trust and also work in OOH. I am involved in medical education as a QUB medical student tutor, OOH clinical supervisor and GP Trainer. My particular areas of interest include women’s health, palliative care and diabetes. My career to date has provided me with an understanding of the challenges GPs currently face. In my role as a GP mentor I hope to use my experience to benefit others.

Dr Martina Molloy

I am a full time GP. I work in a large, urban practice in Derry City. I graduated from Queens in 1999 and completed my GP training in 2003. I locumed in and around the Derry area for 5 years before settling down in my partnership. I have postgrad diplomas in O&G, Family planning and Dermatology. I offer family planning services and minor surgery in my practice. I do regular out of hours work. In 2011 I became a GP trainer and enjoy this part of my job immensely. I have been GP representative on the Western ICP partnership since 2012. I was also Dermatology clinical lead for the West from July 2017 until the post finished in November 2018. On a personal level, I married in 2005 and have 3 kids- one girl and two boys and a German shepherd called Max.

Dr Mark Quinn

I have been a GP in Limavady for the past 25 years and I am also an ANP trainer. I have experienced most of the downs and downs in that time so hope I could lend an ear. Interests include most sport especially golf, Irish and Ulster rugby, Man United and all things Equine as well as a wee bit of art, food, wine and craic.

Dr Anne Marie Ryan

I have recently left a partnership after 13 years to pursue a more flexible career as a portfolio GP. I currently work as a sessional GP, cover OOH and I am also an appraiser. Life as a GP can be very isolating with little support available and I therefore feel mentoring will be a valuable resource to help those struggling to make decisions about their future career.

Dr Barbara Savage

I qualified from Queens in 2000 and having previously worked as a salaried GP and as a GP partner, I am currently a sessional GP in the Northern area. I am also a GP appraiser, a medical adviser for the HSCB and a medical manager for the Southern Trust. Through my various roles, I have gained some understanding of the range of challenges facing GPs and developed an interest in GP welfare. I have been fortunate to have had informal mentoring from colleagues at certain times throughout my career and this has been of great value to me. Hence, I welcome the mentoring programme and hope that this will be of benefit within the GP profession. In my spare time, I like to spend time with family and especially enjoy outdoor activities.

Dr Turlough Tracey

I have been a GP in the same practice for 25 years this year. I have been a trainer for the past 17 years I am involved in the mentor program because I recognise the pressures on doctors . To find out more click the following links:

While the GP Mentoring programme is designed to help GPs, other resources are available for any doctor who feels they are in difficulty. To view these resources please click HERE