GP couple swaps Doncaster for remote island of Jura

A GP couple have swapped the suburban streets of south Yorkshire for a life in one of the remotest islands in Scotland, where the 200 people are outnumbered by 5,000 deer.

Drs Martin Beastall and Abby Beastall moved to the island after it launched a Facebook campaign to find a permanent GP (Photo: Dr Martin Beastall)
Drs Martin Beastall and Abby Beastall moved to the island after it launched a Facebook campaign to find a permanent GP (Photo: Dr Martin Beastall)

Dr Martin Beastall was selected as the GP to take over the Jura Medical Practice on Jura, part of the Scottish Inner Hebrides, after the residents launched a Facebook campaign to get a permanent doctor after relying on locums for two years.


Jura Facebook campaign in search of a GP

The GMS practice, which has a list size of only 200, will get ‘two doctors for the price of one’, according to Dr Abby Beastall, who moved to the island with her husband and plans to join him at the practice when she returns from maternity leave in April.

She said: ‘It is amazing that we have these qualifications and a job that means we can come and do this.

‘I am sure that most communities have a GP, so if you want to work on a remote island, you can. That is what makes it an amazing career choice. [If we weren’t GPs] we couldn’t have come and lived here.’

The couple, who spent two weeks touring Scotland on their 2011 honeymoon after meeting in a practice in Balby, Doncaster, have no regrets about their relocation.

They plan to make Jura a long-term home for them and their six-month-old daughter Zoe, even though the secondary school is a ferry ride away.

Dr Abby Beastall said: ‘The island is really beautiful and incredibly peaceful. The beaches are amazing. You can see seals from the shore, and otters. We get deer in the garden, which I might not like so much if I started a vegetable patch.’


View of the beach from Jura's GP surgery

Although the couple were nervous about being doctors in a small community, the reception they have received has been great, they said.

‘There is a real mix of people,’ Dr Abby Beastall said. ‘The population has been up and down quite a lot over the past few years but there seems to have been a baby boom recently. There are lots of young mums. I feel busier than before.’


Jura GP surgery

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