Scottish National Users’ Group (SNUG) Podcast

Protect and survive: avoiding a cyberattack

In the 1970s and 80s the UK Government produced a series of film and leaflets intended to advise the public on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack, called “Protect and survive”. In the wake of a recent massive cyberattack on the Irish health Service, which has paralysed their core health services, we remember the Wannacry attack on the NHS in 2017, consider how we have had to address cybersecurity since then, and how “Protect and survive” now might have a new meaning for us in the Digital age.

Scott Jaffray is the Associate Director Facilities & Infrastructure and head of Digital & eHealth in NHS Forth Valley and he discusses the ongoing cybersecurity “arms race”, gives some tips for security at home, and describes how martial arts can provide a welcome distraction.

An explainer on the cyberattack on the HSE:

The Scottish Government’s cyber resilience policy:

National Cybersecurity Centre top tips for staying secure online:

Protect and survive film:

The Dubliners' take on Protect and Survive:

SNUG website  email: 

A manifesto from RCGP Scotland

In the week of an important Scottish Parliament election, we spoke to @DrChrisWilliams who is the co-chair of RCGP Scotland. Chris is a GP in Highland, with a special interest in IT and he discussed some of the consequences of the pandemic, as well as the current challenges facing general practice in Scotland. RCGP Scotland has developed its own manifesto, which was discussed by the parties at a recent hustings event. He highlights some of the most important requests from the profession for the new Scottish Government, to take the NHS, general practice, and GP Information Technology forward, over the crucial next few years.

The work of RCGP Scotland

The RCGP Scotland Parliamentary Manifesto

BJGP editorial April 2021: Remote by default general practice: must we, should we, dare we?

Hail Hail Freedonia!

Contact SNUG via 

New GP IT systems: Cegedim shares its Vision

As Scottish GPs are starting to form cohorts within Health Boards, to prepare for selection of one of the next generation of GP IT systems, it will be essential to understand how each system delivers the requirements to become accredited and approved for use in Scotland

Dr Beena Rashkes and Dr Andrew McElhinney of SNUG were joined by Shona Wares, Head of Product Management, and Margaret McCaul, National Account Manager for Scotland,, for Cegedim Healthcare Solutions @CegedimHS. They share their “Vision for the future of digital health”.

“Vision is a portfolio of products with a suite of applications, which can interact and be used across a variety of healthcare settings. You will have the required applications installed according to your needs, as well as the core GP system”.

There is more information  for Vision users at: and some tips for users at:

More information about GP IT Re-provisioning is on the SNUG website: 

or you can contact us via 

A conversation with Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie

Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie has made an enormous contribution to both healthcare and technology in Scotland, over the past 40 years. He has been a GP partner in Peterhead, is still the James McKenzie Professor of General Practice at Aberdeen University, and he has also been Director of Public Health at NHS Grampian.

He has played a unique role in shaping the computerisation of Scottish Primary Care, having written a book on the potential of computers in primary care, chaired the Electronic Clinical Communications Implementation group,  carried out a couple of reviews of the Gpass system, helped set up the Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit at Aberdeen University, and he has encouraged the Scottish Government to set up a national data and intelligence reporting service for Primary Care. He has long advocated the importance of innovation in computing and information technology in the delivery of optimal care.

He has led a number of national programmes, notably the introduction of Meningitis C vaccine in Scotland, and chaired the steering group for the SIGN guidance on Cardiovascular disease prevention reflecting a long standing interest based on research in his own practice.

He was awarded an OBE for services to General Practice and Primary Care and, in 2011, received a knighthood for services to the NHS in Scotland.

In a conversation with Dr Andrew McElhinney of SNUG, Sir Lewis discusses some career highlights, the significance of lifeboats, which of his many roles have given him most satisfaction, which may have had the most impact, how GP computing may develop in the future and we also speculate whether patients may start to come and request a “vaccine line” from their GP in the future!

Feedback and comments are welcome, to our Facebook page or Twitter, or by email to More information on the Scottish National Users’ group is at

Recording Covid 19 vaccination data in Scotland

In this episode, we discuss the options for recording Covid-19 vaccination data in Scotland. Options for GPs are to use templates or guidelines provided by your GP IT system (EMIS or Vision), or to use the TURAS Vaccine Management Tool.

Janet Binnie is an eHealth facilitator in NHS Forth Valley, and a member of the Change Advisory Board. Dr Ian Thompson @ianmthompson is a GP in East Lothian and is Primary Care Clinical Lead in Digital Health and Care at Scottish Government and they have both been involved recently in describing the information requirements for collection of vaccination data for Covid-19 in Scotland. We discuss the practical issues involved for those recording vaccination data in Primary Care, as the immunisation programme gathers momentum.

A video introduction to the TURAS VMT

Hints and tips for navigating TURAS Learn COVID-19 vaccination programme site

A guide to the TURAS Vaccination Management Tool including link to user guide

Putting Chris into Christmas

After a year which has left a lot of us searching vainly for a time travelling De Lorean, it’s time for some Christmas cheer, with a cocktail of reflection, positivity, and ideas for how we can look after each other, also develop to our full potential and look forward to a better future. We are joined for this episode by Dr Chris Weatherburn, the acting chair of Scottish Clinical Information Management in Practice, and he explains the work of SCIMP, reflects on a strange year, and discusses how to avoid both boredom and burnout, why you should “Fire bullets, then a cannonball” and also learn about the growth mindset.

Just don’t think of a pink elephant…

You can tweet Chris @chrisweatherbu1, or tweet SNUG @SNUsersGroup

Michael McIntyre visits fortune teller before lockdown video

Scottish Clinical Information Management in Practice

Chris Weatherburn’s website

SNUG’s first virtual conference

This episode features a review of SNUG's first virtual conference, which covered a wide range of current GP IT topics, in three plenaries and twenty workshops held via Microsoft Teams on November 10th. We feature some of the highlights, including some snippets from a talk by Dr Chris Weatherburn on data quality, a workshop by the national team on the Office 365, Teams and NHS Mail roll out, and some in-depth discussion of where we are currently with the GP IT Re-Provisioning programme for Scotland.

Feedback and comments are welcome, to our Facebook page or Twitter, or by email to

Office 365 Champions site

National Services Scotland GP IT Re-provisioning video

Data quality in Primary Care Scotland - video by Chris Weatherburn

Office 365 Support site

SCIMP 2020 codelist

The challenges we face

This month, we are talking to ourselves! Dr Neil Kelly @NeilGKelly reflects on his impressively long stint as chairman of SNUG, and the influence SNUG can have, and has had on strategy and providing support for GP IT users. He considers, as we head into an uncertain winter, how technology can best help us deliver health care and the need for us all to look after ourselves and each other. We have an update on the latest developments in the slow running GP IT Re-Provisioning project (at 14:58), a taster of what's in store at the forthcoming SNUG virtual conference (24:34), and we get a little insight into Neil's secret interests in fermented grape juice and sea-resistant light fittings as well as his favourite SNUG anecdote.

Standards for General Practice Information Technology

A main aim of the 2018 GMS Contract was to make GP workload more sustainable and this has resulted in the addition of many Health Board employed staff to work in general practice teams - pharmacists, ANPs, physiotherapists, phlebotomists and mental health nurses. National standards have been set for the IT hardware and systems available within general practices in Scotland.

Dr Andrew Cowie @DrAndrewCowie is deputy chair of the BMA's Scottish GP Committee and a GP partner in Dundee. He helped negotiate the current GMS contract for General Practice in Scotland and this episode features a conversation between Dr Cowie and Dr Andrew McElhinney of the Scottish National Users' Group (SNUG) about the standards which have been set for GP IT currently, whether these are being met, and what the main needs are going forward.

SNUG Survey: we are keen to gather thoughts from our members on how funding for the  new GMS contract has been used in each area, and this will aid discussions at the SNUG Virtual Conference in November.

Programme and registration page for the SNUG virtual conference on November 10

2018 GP contract

Scottish GP Committee

Is SCI Gateway really essential?

NHS Scotland developed SCI Gateway in the early 2000s to allow secure communication of clinical data and enable GPs to make protocol-based referrals from Primary to Secondary Care. Over the years it has been used for many thousands of GP referrals, and also a much wider range of purposes including the requesting of advice from specialists, death certifications, infection notifications, and tertiary referrals. It has been adopted by the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland. However the NHS now has to make a decision about the future of SCI Gateway in Scotland and consider whether to invest in its future, or whether it may be time to consider a new alternative product. We have discussions with Lesly Donovan, the General eHealth manager in NHS Fife, and John Wells, eHealth Project manager in NHS Forth Valley who consider some of our questions about how vital Gateway currently it is for the daily working of the NHS and is it really essential to keep it for the future?

We would be interested in what other GP IT users think...

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