Archive | CPD

Being a new mother in rural England

Another report from the Commission for Rural Communities has been published, this time focussing on the challenges of providing and accessing maternity services in rural areas [link no longer available].

Recent health policy has focussed on patient choice.  However, as the report states: “Delivering these choices in rural areas, presents particular challenges. With less availability and variety of provision in rural localities, choice can often only be exercised by women who are able to draw on their own resources, particularly in relation to capacity to access information and transport. It is therefore unclear whether ‘choice’ in maternity services actually helps to address inequalities but may instead serve to aggravate them.”

RuralGP was alerted to this item via the Institute of Rural Health Newsflash, a regular compilation of rural health items which is sent to IRH Associates.
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Being a young carer in rural England

“In the UK there are 175,000 children under the age of 18 who are informal (unpaid) family carers. There are also 230,000 young adult carers aged 18-24, Rural young carers face particular barriers in accessing and receiving services and support, compounded by distance, lack of adequate public transport, isolation, stigma and lack of privacy”.

This report from the Commission for Rural Communities highlights the challenges and barriers for young carers, that are particular to living in a rural area.

RuralGP was alerted to this item via the Institute of Rural Health Newsflash, a regular compilation of rural health items which is sent to IRH Associates.
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RCGP Pandemic Forum

The Royal College of General Practitioners is hosting a forum in Leeds on Thursday 18 March to discuss a wide range of issues relating to the recent threat of pandemic flu. The RCGP is keen to have input from all primary care professionals who were affected by the decisions made to counter it in order to learn from experiences and contribute to future pandemic planning.

The RCGP Pandemic Forum will provide a platform to candidly discuss all aspects of the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Within a structured environment, it will analyse the pandemic strategy and how it worked in theory and reality.

This is an ideal chance to contribute towards future planning and decision making, based on personal experiences of those involved and insights from colleagues across the spectrum of healthcare provision and policy (both from the UK and overseas).

The Forum will be of interest to anyone involved in primary care including GPs, PCT Medical Directors, PCT Managers, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses.  Full details can be found on this PDF or via the RCGP website:www.rcgp.org.uk/pandemicforum

To register your attendance, visit www.rcgp.org.uk/pandemicforum or download an application form. RCGP Members can attend for £99 / Non-RCGP Members: £149.

Please direct all enquiries to our Forum organiser, Terri Myers –tmyers@rcgp.org.uk / 020 7344 3065.

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Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments (PNAs)

Your chance to reply to the consultation…

The consultation document for “Pharmacy in England: building on strengths – delivering the future – Draft regulations under the Health Act 2009” was published in early December.  After consultation in late 2008, two clauses were added to the Health Bill 2009 (now the Health Act 2009).  These required Primary Care Trusts to develop and publish pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs), and then to use PNAs as the basis for determining market entry to NHS pharmaceutical services provision

In July 2009, a regulatory Advisory Group drawn from interested parties (including the Dispensing Doctors Association) was set up to translate these proposals into reality.  The Department of Health is now seeking comment on the first set of draft regulations regarding PNAs.

These regulations will come into force in 3 months despite the consultation ending in just over 8weeks. Primary Care Trusts, however, will not be required to produce their first PNA until February 2011.  The current market entry system( set out in the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005 as amended and accompanying guidance) will remain in force until the regulations in the Health Act are brought in. This is planned to take place from April 2011.

The DDA will of course be responding.  Rural dispensing GPs and dispensing patients may however wish to put their own point of view to the consultation.  Responses should be sent by 28 February 2010 to PNACONS@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Consultation documents

Download Consultation document, draft regulations and guidance (PDF, 228K)
Download Consultation response form (RTF, 137K)
Download Draft regulations (PDF, 84K)
Download Draft information for Primary Care Trusts (PDF, 384K)
Download Impact Assessment (PDF, 2065K)

Thanks to Aidan Egleston of the DDA for this article.

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PBSG what?

There seems to be two types of Scottish GP at the moment, those who are doing Practice Based Small Group Learning and those who are likely to be soon.  The initiative, supported by NES (NHS Education for Scotland) involves small groups of GPs, Registrars and Practice Nurses getting together to do some scenario-based learning, on topics as diverse as “Family Physician Stress” to “Chronic Kidney Disease” to “ADHD”.

The idea was brought across from McMaster University, where our Canadian GP colleagues have been using this style of learning for some time.  They’ve developed a vast range of scenario-based modules, and from humble beginnings, there are now waves of Scottish GPs signing up to be involved.  Importantly, more and more of the Canadian-written modules are being “tartanised”, so that acetaminophen reads paracetamol, and the dynamics of Scottish/UK general practice are more accurately portrayed in the cases for discussion.

I recently attended Facilitator Training for the PBSGL programme, and came away enthused and keen to promote the idea to others. There has been a particularly strong appetite for PBSGL in the North Scotland, and consequently several groups of rural practitioners have set up virtual groups. These been held by using teleconference, Skype and other online services, with varied degrees of success.  Of course, half the fun of taking part in PBSGL is meeting colleagues face-to-face: this is best done by physical meetings but for some rural practitioners this isn’t possible.  For these situations, there is huge potential to enable rural practitioners to link up (including via occasional physical meetings too), to allow collaborative practice and reduce the professional isolation that so often faces colleages in these areas.

If you work in Scotland and are keen to find out more, have a look at the PBSGL website or contact PBSGLAdministrator.North_PO.SCPMDE@nes.scot.nhs.uk.  There is likely to be a group near you, and if not, you may wish to set up your own group after a bit of facilitator training (which I can vouch is interesting, fun and not intimidating).  If you’re elsewhere in the UK – watch this space, as it may well be coming your direction sometime in the future

Finally, if you’re interested in taking part in virtual meetings – for which you’ll need a microphone & speakers (preferably as a headset) plus webcam – please get in touch with us here at RuralGP Blog so that we can keep you updated with progress.

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eLearning for Rural Practice

Recently I took part in a teleconference with Malcolm Ward, RCGP Chair of the Rural Form, and Ben Riley, Medical Director for eLearning at the RCGP, to discuss ways of improving access to online CPD to rural practitioners.

There is a lot happening to make more online learning accessible to medical practitioners, particularly as the use of online educational modules is increasingly encouraged to support preparation for appraisal and revalidation.  This is reflected in the scale of work happening under the umbrella of the Department of Health’s “E-Learning for Healthcare” programme (see www.e-GP.org).  Royal Colleges of most specialties are investing heavily to offer their members access to accredited and relevant updates.

The RCGP has a number of ongoing projects, but central to revalidation are the Essential Knowledge Updates which some members may already be familiar with.  These aim to provide RCGP members with a 6-monthly update of the most pertinent changes in practice, via an online learning module.

However, through various conversations, the RCGP Rural Forum is acutely aware that some remote and rural practitioners experience significant difficulty in accessing online content, especially due to slow internet connections.  Judging from recent comments from the telecommunications industry, this is unlikely to change overnight.  And so, if too much reliance is placed on high-bandwidth video and media content for eLearning, this could prevent many of our rural colleagues from accessing this core resource.

What’s the answer?  We’d like to invite ideas!  The Rural Forum is looking into ways of signposting rural practitioners to particular modules of interest, and this could include an indicator of how fast your connection needs to be for certain modules.  We are also looking into other ways of providing access to elearning resources – perhaps via CD-Rom or memory stick.  This is work in progress.

In the meantime we would like to invite your comments, not least to understand the scale of the problem.  If you’re a rural GP and concerned about access to these resources – please get in touch, and contribute to our online poll on this issue – available shortly.

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Tips for Teleconferencing

teleconferenceThe RCGP Rural Forum regularly uses teleconferencing to link up members from across the UK.  It saves money and time, and is particularly useful for rural practitioners who would have prohibitively long journeys out of their practice area to attend meetings.

Teleconferencing is widely used for other purposes too – and its use is likely to grow, especially as the technology becomes more widely available.  It’s already very easy to set up a teleconference via providers such as BT MeetMe.  Skype allows connected users to form a teleconference of up to 8 participants completely free.

However, what happens once you’ve got your teleconference set to go?  It can be easy to assume that it’s an easy thing to do, however without being able to see other participants, it can quickly become difficult to keep control of the agenda, and make for productive conversations.

Here’s two articles that help to explain the “etiquette” and some useful tips to bear in mind when having teleconferences.

Videoconferencing needs similar considerations, however we hope to run an article on the do’s and don’ts of VC in the near future.  If you’d like to contribute to this, please get in touch.

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Report from Gregynog 2009 Rural Doctors’ Conference

gregynogDr Malcolm Ward, Chair of the RCGP Rural Forum, has just returned from the Annual Rural Doctors’ Conference in Gregynog, Wales.  He sends this report…

Thanks to Montgomeryshire Medical Society and the Institute of Rural Health, Gregynog Hall has been host to the Annual Rural Doctors’ conference since 1990. It was the first time I have attended having been invited to speak on behalf of the new RCGP Rural Forum. I gave a presentation on Revalidation and a brief update on dispensing, all the more brief because I over ran on Revalidation! The most important message to Welsh dispensing doctors was, and is to ensure they get their dispensing premises registered as required by the new Welsh NHS pharmaceutical regulations which were laid before the Assembly 17.7.09.

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