Annual (Rural) Primary Care Conference

The Annual Primary Care Conference (formerly the Rural Doctors Conference), held during Rural Health Week, brings rural healthcare professionals together in a friendly learning environment from across the UK. The Montgomeryshire Medical Society (MMS), together with IRH, organised a successful 22nd annual conference at Gregynog from September 21-23.

The 2012 conference is planned for September 25th to 28th.

More than 100 delegates attended the conference, some from as far away as Cumbria, to hear speakers on subjects ranging from reducing medicines wastage in GP practices and managing the aging population, to lung cancer and sleep disorders. Following the event, one attendee reported that the conference is a lifeline for his postgraduate update and appraisal.

Seven trainee doctors attended the conference this year from various DGHs in Wales including Withybush in Pembrokeshire and University Hospital Wales in Cardiff.  This was welcomed by Dr Green who is keen to attract more young health care professionals to the event.

Managing the aging population, prevention of falls in older people, funny turns, visual impairment and psycho-geriatrics were the topics to open the conference on the Wednesday, and Alan Jefferies of White Crane Tai Chi ended the morning with delegates learning about the benefits of Tai Chi exercises in the prevention of falls, and having the opportunity to try some exercises themselves. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people over 75 in the UK. It is estimated that the overall direct healthcare cost to the NHS is £15 million every year.

‘Hot topics in primary care’ was the topic on Thursday, when Dr Peter Holden, a Matlock GP and General Practitioner Committee negotiator, addressed delegates with his regular and popular ‘Holden’s Soapbox’. He discussed the likely impact of the Health Bill in England, which would give GPs a greater role in commissioning services.

Reducing medicines wastage in GP practices, lung cancer, bariatric sugery, treatment of hip and knee conditions and sleep disorders were other topics discussed on Thursday. Friday was a day of clinical skills in primary care, including minor surgery, the collapsed patient, the ECG workbook, rural dermatology, minor injury medicine, joint injections and foot and ankle treatment.

A change of name this year from the Rural Doctors Conference reflected the teamwork that is now involved in running rural medical practices. General Practitioners were joined by their nurses and managers to learn together. Dr Martin Green, chairman of MMS, said “We are now so used to teamwork and the needs of the aging population are such that we need partnership to get through the workload.

Reproduced from the IRH’s Rural Link December 2011.

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