‘Dr Finlay I presume’… University of Dundee helps open Braemar exhibition showcasing lives of rural GPs

Published on 6 June 2024

An exhibition tracing the substantial changes of remote Single Handed GP services across the past 25 years has been opened in Aberdeenshire.

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‘Dr Finlay I presume’ is a unique event inspired by a collaboration in 1999 between the Royal College of General Practitioners and the University of Dundee, which resulted in the publication of the book ‘Single Handed’. 

The black and white picture book by Professor John Bain, former Professor of General Practice at University of Dundee, was inspired by the 1960s TV programme ‘Dr Finlay’s Casebook’ – which followed the colourful challenges of a rural GP.

‘Single Handed’ revealed real life accounts of forty-six GPs plying their trade in some of the most remote areas of Scotland. It also detailed the challenges of delivering health care across remote and rural areas and highlighted the journey of NHS general practice from its inception.  

Twenty-five years on from the original book, the exhibition at St Margarets in Braemar traces how general practice is now delivered in remote and rural settings across Scotland.

The exhibition showcases photographs and engaging stories of general practice through the years. Video clips of those involved in the provision of care then and now allow visitors to see and hear the substantial changes and with exhibits demonstrating how technology has evolved so quickly in such a short space of time. 

Opening the exhibition, Professor of Medical Education and General Practice at University of Dundee, Mairi Scott said: “Last year, a small group of us, who had served as Chairs of RCGP Scotland, decided to revisit this amazing project ... and so along with a small number of interested GP's we set about exploring how care is currently being delivered in these rural and remote locations and hear from the GPs working there today.

“We adopted as much of the previous format as possible. What we found was that although some of the systems of delivery of care had changed with the introduction of the multi-disciplinary team and other initiatives, none the less the GP’s we interviewed expressed the same commitment and dedication to their communities and enjoyment of the job.  We even interviewed a few GPs from the original exhibition for a second time, and their continued presence after over 20 years certainly confirms their love for the job.

“We hope this new exhibition is as fascinating as the original and that you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to fruition.”

The exhibition is open daily, 10am-5pm until September 30 at St Margaret’s, Braemar.

Story category Events and exhibitions