Transitions2017 Innovation on a budget

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a few weeks. No, I have not been off on an Easter holiday to the sun. I have in fact been hard at work on another project. Busy wearing another of my hats as Honorary Secretary of the RCGP Vale of Trent Faculty, I have been helping organise a day conference and then editing video and building a website to showcase the event.

My guest post on the explains how we delivered an innovative day conference along with a website to showcase the events and host video of talks, sessions and a promo video for working in our area. All on a tight budget.

Either head over to, or continue reading here…


The Transitions2017 day conference took place on 29/3/17. For many years the RCGP Vale of Trent Faculty has hosted this spring time event for ST3 GP Registrars with the aim of preparing our new GPs for the world of work and life after GP training. The event covers a range of non clinical topics ranging from resilience and technology to managing your finances and revalidation. This article describes how we built on our recent tradition of innovation at this event.

In particular, we are proud of our use of low cost video and web products to make the experience of the day available online, free of charge for existing and future GP trainees. We are also proud of our filming on the day for our “Choose GP, Choose Vale of Trent” promotional video.

Previously, at our 2016 Transitions event…

  • We introduced our first of it’s kind (to our knowledge) GP Speed Dating recruitment event. As in many regions, practices in the Vale of Trent can struggle to find GPs. With over 70 new GPs about to finish training, together in one place, we couldn’t resist inviting practices from across the area who were in need of new GPs along to a Speed Dating style recruitment event. The event drew the attention of PulseToday and GPFrontline and you can read more about it here.
  • We also extended invitations for the event to include First5 GPs. The day is a great opportunity for for First5 GPs, particularly those new to the area, to meet other new GPs and connect with the faculty, practices and other local support organisations.

Planning Transitions2017

At our annual faculty away day, we were determined to build on last year’s innovations. The Faculty Board identified a number of aspirations for the coming year, including…

  • Increasing our use of social media to reach more GPs and non members
  • Experimenting with video and other new communication channels
  • Improving links with other local organisations
  • Building a more positive attitude toward General Practice
  • Producing a video promoting general practice and working in our region


Discussing plans for Transitions2017 at our VoT Faculty away day…


The successful addition of lunchtime GP Speed Dating to our annual Transitions conference demonstrated how established events can provide a great opportunity to experiment with new ideas and also the critical mass of delegates and concentration of resources required to make them a success.

With a little additional creativity and effort, and combining several innovations together, existing events can be enhanced to deliver much more value and impact for our members, addressing a wider range of their needs.


Transitions2017 Innovations: 

Develop the Social Media capabilities of the faculty

We promoted the event on Twitter and Facebook. This was a great opportunity to improve our use of social media platforms. Many members of the Faculty Board were introduced to these platforms for the first time. We were driven to develop our Facebook Page (LINK) and Twitter presence, and formalise our procedures for publishing and using these channels. We have since been using our social media infrastructure to promote other faculty events and messages. Making our event promotional video was a great way to familiarise ourselves with the video equipment to be used on the day.

Online conference showcase including full videos of talks

We wanted to capture the atmosphere and content of the conference and make it available for delegates and others to view online after the day. This extended the benefit and impact of the event beyond the day itself. It was important to us that we used low cost and free resources to showcase what can be achieved at a very low cost. The experience of filming and editing gained by the faculty will be a useful asset in the future.

Videos from the day can be viewed on our Videos and Talks page.


Video equipment used at Transitions2017
  1. 2x iPhone 5S, donated by family who recently upgraded – Even older mobile phones have excellent video capabilities. Filming from two angles allows more options for editing. Cost = Free (eBay = 2 x £80)
  2. Lapel microphone with long cord – Mobile phones do not record good video audio. A cheap clip on microphone makes a huge difference. Cost = £15
  3. Amazonbasics tripod – A tripod keeps the camera steady and freea up hands for other things. Steady video looks much more professional. Cost = £15
  4. Tripod mount for mobile phones. Cost = £9
  5. Clip on wide angle lens – Widens the view from the camera and brings more things into the shot. Useful when standing next to people for interviews. Cost = £15
  6. iMovie – Apple’s free but capable home video editing software was used to edit audio and video from the day and add titles and text. Cost = Free
  7. Youtube video uploads and hosting. Cost = Free
  8. WordPress content management system (CMS) – This is a free and open source website building platform. It is easy to use and surprisingly powerful. It powers 28% of all websites including some big names such as The New Yorker and BBC America. Cost = Free
  9. Web hosting package – A Faculty Board member had space on his existing web hosting package. Cost = Free (GoDaddy basic webhosting = £1/month)
Experiment with affordable 360 video

Sometimes things that feel cutting edge are more accessible than you think. Being a group that encourages members to experiment with exciting new technologies and also gives them a place to do this, can encourage people to get involved with the faculty and in organising events. Hot new technologies such as Virtual Reality create a buzz and can really drive interest in an event.

Create a promotional video for General Practice and the Vale of Trent

With the prospect of more than 70 new GPs, local practices, and local speakers all together in one place, along with our video equipment already there recording the day, this was a golden opportunity to collect footage and interviews to create a promotional video. The idea was to produce a video that could be used to promote careers in General Practice, working in the Vale of Trent region, and also the work of the faculty and the value of RCGP membership. Many of the other local GP organisations present on the day, such as CCGs, LMCs and Federations, share our goal to promote working in the area. Providing a video that can also be used by these organisations to advance this shared aim will help us build relationships with our local partners.

Here is the extended version of our Choose GP, Choose Vale of Trent video…


The event received great feedback from the delegates and practices and we are excited to to see how our website and promotional video are received.

We look forward to bringing more innovations at our other events and at Transitions2018.

If you have enjoyed our showcase website or videos then please help us reach more people.

Please share our site and videos on Facebook, Twitter, by email and also be telling and showing people directly.

If you have enjoyed this article then please take a look at the RCGP Vale of Trent Transitions2017 website and videos. Please share on Facebook, Twitter, by email and also be telling and showing people directly.

What do you think of this post? Comments welcome :-)