Foundation Doctor’s Guide to North Scotland

The Northern region is significantly the vastest. It encompasses the old cities of Aberdeen and Inverness (considered the capital of the Highlands, near the infamous Loch Ness), and all the way up to the more isolated John O’ Groats, the Shetland Islands and Stornoway. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, there may not be anywhere better in the UK for truly experiencing the great British outdoors. Being more isolated doesn’t correlate to a less social experience, generally, it’s quite the opposite!

In terms of tertiary centres, in the North of Scotland, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is the main specialist hospital, being a major trauma centre, offering nearly every specialty (excluding heart and liver transplants). It also has on its grounds a dedicated paediatrics and dedicated maternity hospital.

Scotland is one foundation school but split into 4 separate regions: East, North, South East & West. Most of the spots available are in the West (around Glasgow) & South East (around Edinburgh).

Messly wants to help doctors make evidence-based decisions about their careers. We’ve put together a short guide to the North region of Scotland Foundation School to help you rank your rotation programmes. Below is a snapshot of hospital ratings and reviews from the Messly community of doctors together with information about the geography of the region. Sign up to Messly to learn more – we’ve got over 40,000 junior doctor ratings for you to explore.



Click on the hospital to see indepth reviews & GMC ratings on it’s specialties.

Quick Reviews


  • Regular teaching. Lots of 1-1 with consultants. Very well supported. Able to learn and develop skills. cons: Really hard to choose a negative. Great team, friendly nurses. I suppose the rota, but it wasn’t too bad compared with other areas.
  • Really hard to choose a negative. Great team, friendly nurses. I suppose the rota, but it wasn’t too bad compared with other areas.
Top tips

Watch videos/make use of simulation for putting in lines (CVC, arterial, femoral etc) you will be able to be independent and lots of opportunities for developing more skills.

Foundation Year 1, Acute Internal Medicine – Aberdeen Royal Infirmary


  • Fluctuant work load given different weeks spent on different wards. Generally ward work is manageable with good senior support and opportunity to get theatre experience. Receiving – variable work load, although can be well supported when fellow FY1’s help out. A lot of time spent on procedural tasks like bloods and cannulas. Paper requesting also adds to work load. Surgical High Dependency can be challenging at night given nature of patients and staff in the unit. Overall, really enjoyable job and steep learning experience.
  • N/A
Top tips

Good organisation and maintain a good list! Can be overwhelming at time but very rewarding with others.

Foundation Year 1, General Surgery – Raigmore Hospital


Explore our Training Navigator to learn more

We’ve created the Training Navigator, a tool designed using the GMC National Training Survey data, which allows you to compare deaneries and rotations based on 40,000 junior doctors’ ratings and reviews. It’s free to use – click below to sign up and give yourself the full picture.

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