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Report from Islay: GURRMS Medical Student Conference

Student led conference in Islay provides novel long-term solution to rural GP recruitment

By Keenan Smith, Gregor Stark and Alistair Carr

Six months ago, we were sitting in the Glasgow University Union listening to Alistair explain his plan. He’d just returned from a five week GP placement on Islay where his eyes had been opened to the challenges and excitement that lay in rural general practice.  Despite the recruitment crisis facing general practice everywhere, and rural general practice in particular, he was convinced that if other students could experience what he had, it would inspire them too.

That evening, the five of us formed the Glasgow University Remote and Rural Medicine Society (GURRMS).  Our founding goal was to host a conference with a real and lasting impact.  With a message that no delegate could ignore: rural GP provides an exciting and dynamic career that should not be written off as a sleepy backwater of a career.

We wanted to create something that would change not just how 60 medical students thought, but that would become a staple of the undergraduate social and educational calendar – changing perceptions for years to come.

If we were going to make that much of a difference, we were going to have to think big.  We knew this had to show off everything that rural practice had to offer and that this meant going to Islay.

The Gaelic College in Bowmore was the conference venue

To say we didn’t have doubts would be a lie, we had thousands, but the largest was the central premise of the entire project: if we offered this to students, would they even want to come? A close second to this was: how would we find the funding for a conference involving the immense logistical challenges of providing transport, accommodation, and catering in an island with a permanent population of 3,500.

Despite our reservations our 60 delegate tickets sold out within four and a half hours – clearly demonstrating the demand among medical students for more exposure to rural practice. Following this, we were successful in securing sponsorship from organisations that were able to appreciate the vision and scope of what we were trying to achieve.

Dr Angus MacTaggart explaining the joys of being a rural GP

When Friday 10th of March came around, every seat in the Gaelic College was filled with eager students. Most were from Scotland but some had come from as far away as Plymouth, Oxford and Hull.

A spectacular view across Loch Indaal was the backdrop to the inaugural National Undergraduate Remote and Rural Medicine Conference. The morning session started with a talk by Dr Angus McTaggart defining what rural medicine is and the rewards it can offer. This was followed by the EMRS team talking about their role and how they interact with rural GPs.

EMRS doctors Michael Carachi and Kevin Thomson

Following a short break Dr Kate Pickering talked about the importance of medical leadership, after which a workshop took place. This gave the opportunity for two of Islay’s retired GPs, Drs Chris Abell and Sandy Taylor, to engage the students in a discussion about the benefits and challenges of working in a rural environment. Simultaneously to this another workshop took place, led by the Rural GP Fellows Drs Jess Cooper and Durga Sivasathiaseelan, leading a discussion about how to act in a rural emergency and also providing information about the Rural GP Fellowship programme.

During lunch the students chatted with patients who had volunteered to come in to speak about their experiences of rural healthcare and also to give a flavour of island life. Following lunch, Mr Stuart Fergusson kicked off with a talk about rural surgery in Scotland, after which Professor John Kinsella, Chair of SIGN Guidelines, gave a talk about the limitations of guidelines in a rural setting where he made the interesting comparison of rural medicine to the ICU environment.

Obligatory visit to sample local produce!

After another break, with more excellent catering by the Gaelic College team, the EMRS guys provided a brief overview of the realities of pre-hospital care which was then followed by five student presentations. These provided a showcase of the projects that students have undertaken whilst on rural placements or undertaken during intercalated degrees. The educational content of the day finished with a panel discussion about what Realistic Medicine is and how that applies in the rural context.

The Saturday was used to explore rural life and further experience the community we were being invited to be a part of. Some of the students explored the beautiful scenery by going for a hill walk and some participated in a joint RNLI and coastguard training exercise which involved three of the students being winched out of the sea. For the students that had caught wind of Islay’s whisky reputation, a tour of the Bruichladdich distillery was arranged where they were treated to some proper Islay hospitality.

Students participating in the Saturday hill walk

The informal feedback we have got thus far has been overwhelmingly positive: certainly more than one rural elective is being sought after last weekend. A recurring theme has been how impressed students were by the strength of the island’s community and the generosity of the locals.  Formal feedback is in the process of being collected and will be made available in due course.

The 2017-18 GURRMS committee has now been elected and have exciting plans for the future. Watch this space!

GURRMS 2017-18 committee – what does the future hold?

Cool shades featured throughout the conference!

GURRMS would like to thank all our speakers: Dr Angus MacTaggart; Dr Michael Carachi and Dr Kevin Thomson; Mr Stuart Ferguson; Dr Kate Pickering; Dr Jess Cooper and Dr Durga Sivasathiaseelan; Dr Chris Abell and Dr Sandy Taylor; Professor John Kinsella; Cameron Kay; Beth Dorrans; Josie Bellhouse; James McHugh; Eloise Miller and Hannah Greenlees.

Also our sponsors: the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; the Rural General Practitioner Association of Scotland; the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; the University of Glasgow; NHS Highland and Bruichladdich distillery.  And finally a huge thanks to all of the medical team of Islay for your support and for believing in us.

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15th March: Next BASICS Scotland Clinical Governance Meeting

basics_logo_new_large_csBASICS Scotland Clinical Governance Meeting

Wednesday 15th March 2017, 7-8.30pm

The BASICS Scotland Clinical Governance Meetings are held quarterly and are provided over internet based video conferencing allowing you to have a face to face meeting with your peers from the comfort of your own home or work place to share and discuss clinical cases that you may have been involved in or are interested in.

Each meeting consists of a selection of cases which are presented by the person involved and is then opened up for discussion giving you the opportunity to learn from others.

The programme for our meeting on 15th March can be downloaded here, and includes a number of general updates about BASICS Scotland work including our new responder debriefing pilot, a national guideline development group for prehospital care, and 2 cases from Highland.

Join us at the next meeting

This is a free benefit to all BASICS Scotland members and counts towards your CPD!

If you haven’t been to one of our meetings before and would like to attend this or future meetings please email or call Craig Stewart at the BASICS Scotland office – cstewart@basics-scotland.org.uk or tel: 01764 663671.

Invites will automatically be sent out to everyone who has previously attended one of our Clinical Governance Meetings.

The programme for this meeting will be distributed in due course and invites will be sent out on the Tuesday before the meeting.

Not sure how it works?

Never attended one of our internet based video conference sessions using Adobe Connect and unsure of how it all works? Contact Craig at the BASICS Scotland office (cstewart@basics-scotland.org.uk or call 01764 663 671 ) and he will be more than happy to help you get set up.

You can also catch up on previous meetings which will give you a good idea of what is involved by logging into the members area of the BASICS Scotland website ( http://basics-scotland.org.uk/members/clinical-governance/recordings/ ).

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BASICS Courses update

News just in from BASICS Scotland about their CPD day and other forthcoming course information…

CPD Day

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to attend this specially developed course for BASICS Scotland Responders.

The course is a one day event designed for and specific to doctors, nurses and paramedics who are already BASICS Scotland Responders.

Dates available: 17th and 18th May 2017

Venue: Mobile Skills Unit which will be located at Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin

This course is limited to 8 delegates per day so make sure to register your interest asap to guarantee a place.

The course content will include:

  • Simulation training with video augmented debriefs
  • Human factors training with an external expert

Cost to attend is now only £50

Full details and programme available by clicking on the download PDF button below.

If you would like to register for this course please do so by sending an email to courses@basics-scotland.org.uk and provide us with your preferred day of attendance.

As the numbers are restricted places will be given on a first come first served basis and a waiting list will be kept in the event of a cancellation.

Download PDF information from BASICS Website

Future Face-to-Face Courses

If you are looking to attend a PHEC Course of PHPLS Course this year please find below the list of courses available for 2017 below.

10th – 12th March ’17

PHPLS

Carnoustie Golf Hotel

24th – 26th March ’17

PHECC

Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline

21st – 23rd April ’17

PHECC

Islesburgh Hotel, Shetland

12th – 14th May ’17

PHECC

Peebles Hydro, Borders

9th – 11th June ’17

PHECC

Skye

22nd – 24th August ’17

PHECC

Clinical Skills Centre, Western Isles

15th – 17th September ’17

PHECC

Newton Hotel, Nairn, Highland

6th – 8th October ’17

TBC

Orkney

20th – 22nd October ’17

2 x IMC Ref

DGRI, Dumfries

10th – 12th November ’17

PHECC

Craigellachie, Grampian

24th – 26th November ’17

PHECC

DoubleTree, Dundee

If you would like to register for any of the above courses please do so by sending an email to courses@basics-scotland.org.uk

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Rethinking Remote 2 – save the date

Save the date!

The organisers of Rethinking Remote – a conference held in Inverness in May 2016 – have announced that Rethinking Remote 2 will be held on 24th-25th May 2018.

Rethinking Remote 2 will build on the success of the last conference, which included inspiring contributions from international and multidisciplinary rural professionals whilst also highlighting great practice in Scottish rural communities.

Full details will be published in due course (including on RuralGP.com), as well as an invitation for abstracts/poster presentations etc.  Meantime, consider adding this to your diary now …

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Rural Medicine Café discusses Rural Health Research

Mayara Floss, founder of the Café

Readers might be familiar with the Rural Medicine Café, set up by budding rural GP Mayara Floss who is a medical student in Brazil.

Following the 2015 Rural WONCA Conference in Dubrovnik, she set up the virtual Café to create a relatively informal space in which rural medics from all over the world could come together for some conversation to discuss hot topics, and develop collaboration.  Mayara runs these sessions on Google Hangouts, which offers easy access and is fairly successful on most broadband connections.

So far an impressive range of topics have been discussed.  The most recent event took place on Saturday, and involved doctors and students from Brazil, the Caribbean, Halifax in Canada, Scotland and Kenya discussing ways in which research in rural health could be improved and facilitated.

An important outcome of each virtual Café is that the content can be watched later, on YouTube.  The relaxed nature of these sessions means that they can take a fair chunk of time to watch, but for rural health enthusiasts who want to catch up on the conversations, it represents an interesting resource from which to learn from practices across the world.  Where else can you engage so easily in sharing and discussing rural health issues with worldwide conferes?

For future events, take a look at the Café Facebook page.  The most recent Café (running to just over an hour) can be accessed at the following link:

https://youtu.be/SdP53qewijU?t=1s

Well done to Mayara for an impressive result to her initial ambitions to develop this project.  Do contact her via the Facebook page if would like to watch or take part in a future Café.  The next Café will discuss the WONCA Rural Medical Education Handbook on Saturday 4th February.

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WONCA World Rural Health conference all set for April

This year will see the WONCA World Rural Health Conference take place in Cairns, Australia from 29th April.  It will be preceded by the National Rural Health Conference of Australia, which will promise to bring even more research, innovation and collaboration to the wider event.

Registration is now available from the conference website.  The organisers have also put together this film to whet the appetite of potential delegates.  It looks set to be a fantastic event.  RuralGP.com will be there, and we hope to run a similar range of interviews and podcasts like we did from Dubrovnik in 2015.  This reflective commentary from the 2015 conference demonstrates that the conference offers a unique chance to get together with like-minded confreres and share great practice from across the world.

We hope to see you there!

Early bird registration fees available until the end of January.

… and if that’s not enough (!), here’s Ian Couper of South Africa, being interviewed in Dubrovnik in 2015 giving some encouragement for others – particularly students and new doctors – to attend WONCA in Cairns…

ianIan Couper, South Africa

Ian is a rural family doctor, and a stalwart of Rural WONCA.  You can read more about his background here.


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Retrieval 2017 Conference programme now available

Details are now available for the annual Retrieval conference, hosted by the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service of Scotland.

Once again, there is a broad range of topics covered, and another impressive line-up of local and international speakers.  As well as clinical topics, there are also presentations about working with the media in the prehospital setting, and ‘Looking After the Team’ – being aware of the stressors and pressures placed on responders in the emergency prehospital setting.

Registration is now available and abstracts can also be submitted via the Retrieval 2017 website.

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15th December: Next BASICS Scotland Clinical Governance Meeting

basics_logo_new_large_csBASICS Scotland Clinical Governance Meeting

15th December 2016, 7.00pm – 8.30pm

 

The BASICS Scotland Clinical Governance Meetings are held quarterly and are provided over internet based video conferencing allowing you to have a face to face meeting with your peers from the comfort of your own home or work place to share and discuss clinical cases that you may have been involved in or are interested in.

Each meeting consists of a selection of cases which are presented by the person involved and is then opened up for discussion giving you the opportunity to learn from others.

Our meeting on 15th December will feature the following cases:

  • Fall from a horse: Iain Craighead (Highland)
  • My drive to Newcastle: Paul Gowens
  • An Entrapment: Brian Fitzsimmons (Highland)
  • Multiple Casualties: Mark Worrall (Ayrshire)

The meeting will also cover ‘Rudeness and clinical performance‘ with Richard Price.

Join us at the next meeting

This is a free benefit to all BASICS Scotland members and counts towards your CPD!

If you haven’t been to one of our meetings before and would like to attend this or future meetings please email or call Craig Stewart at the BASICS Scotland office – cstewart@basics-scotland.org.uk or tel: 01764 663671.

Invites will automatically be sent out to everyone who has previously attended one of our Clinical Governance Meetings.

The programme for this meeting will be distributed in due course and invites will be sent out on the Tuesday before the meeting.

Not sure how it works?

Never attended one of our internet based video conference sessions using Adobe Connect and unsure of how it all works? Contact Craig at the BASICS Scotland office (cstewart@basics-scotland.org.uk or call 01764 663 671 ) and he will be more than happy to help you get set up.

You can also catch up on previous meetings which will give you a good idea of what is involved by logging into the members area of the BASICS Scotland website ( http://basics-scotland.org.uk/members/clinical-governance/recordings/ ).

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BASICS Scotland Adult Tele-Education Course

BASICS Scotland Tele-Education presents…

Adult Pre-hospital Emergency Care

basics_logo_new_large_csStarts Monday 16th January 2017

(closing date for registration is Friday 23rd December 2016)

Course cost: £150 for non-members / £135 (BASICS Scotland members)

This Course is primarily for doctors, nurses & paramedics delivering care in the pre-hospital environment. 

BASICS Scotland provide two types of Tele-education courses which are Paediatric and Adult Emergency Medical Care

New evidence based topics are delivered by weekly 1 hour sessions over 9 weeks for the paediatric course and 10 weeks for the adult course. These are presented live through our internet based video conference system using Adobe Connect which can be accessed anywhere in the world that you have a computer with an internet connection and up-to-date web browser with the latest Flash Player plugin installed.

Can’t make the live sessions? Don’t worry. Each live session is recorded and made available on our E-learning website along with supporting materials so you can view them in your own time.

adult-tele-ed-pic-slider

 

The adult course covers topics such as:

Allergy & Anaphylaxis; Asthma; LVF – Adult Pneumonia; Stroke & TIA; Chest Pain & Thrombolysis; Head Injury; ENT Emergencies; Wounds, Burns & Tetanus; Pain Relief; Seizures

Feedback from previous courses:

I picked up lots of useful tips, particularly regarding the range of drugs that I should consider using in a remote pre-hospital environment and the management of wounds and minor injuries.

Excellent course, loved been able to do it online, like structure of a topic each, 2 week break worked well. I enjoyed that the sessions were interactive, learned lots of useful information, thank you.

A very useful course that has increased my confidence in emergency situations.

Introduction on Adobe Connect and how it works

A short video is available from the BASICS Scotland page (link below) introducing what Adobe Connect is and how to use it for BASICS Scotland courses and meetings. Watching this recording is a good test to ensure you are able to watch the recordings made during this course.

Full details, including the application form, are available from this page at the BASICS Scotland website.
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#RGPAS16 a major success

Last week, over eighty students, trainees, new and more experienced GPs from across Scotland and beyond, met at the annual conference of RGPAS.  An action-packed programme provided a wide variety of clinical and non-clinical topics, and there were plenty of opportunities to meet and discuss rural practice.  Rural GP-ing in Scotland is a simulating place to be!

rgpas16_-1

Scroll to the bottom of the page for more conference photos…

ruralgpscot_2016-oct-24

But we had some GPs from further afield too!

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-00-44-28

Rural GPs from across Scotland came for the conference…

Kicking off the programme, we heard from Dr Helen Brandstorp of the National Centre for Rural Medicine in Tromso, Norway.  Helen provided a good backdrop to the fact that “we’re all in this together” – the challenges and delights of rural practice are prevalent in Norway in similar levels to Scotland.  The ground is fertile for further collaboration with international confreres and we hope to see ongoing links with our Norwegian counterparts in rural medicine.

The rest of the conference featured a rich variety of clinical and non-clinical topics of relevance to rural practice.  We were lucky to have an excellent range of engaging and entertaining speakers.  From updates in emergency medicine, to humanitarian and MSF work, to developing rural LGBT-friendly health services, to IT Reprovisioning, to research tips, to rural surgery, to featured student presentations… there was plenty going on, and the conference dinner provided plenty of opportunity to make further connections and allow the conversations to flow, along with a bit of traditional music too.

We were delighted to host a good number of students, trainees and new doctors… in particular there were nineteen heavily-subsidised student places – and they didn’t disappoint in their contributions of innovative ideas throughout the conference.

Instead of listing all the speakers here, the programme remains available – and we were delighted that over 200 #rgpas16 tweets were exchanged in the course of the conference.  We’ve collated these with Storify, and you can view the Storify timeline here.

Here’s a few of the twitter highlights:

The conference rounded off on the Saturday with a visit to the Bristow Coastguard helicopter base at Inverness Airport, where Winchman Paramedic Duncan Tripp and his colleagues treated student and experienced GPs to a tour round the facilities, including one of their £26 million Sikorsky search and rescue helicopters.

Thanks to all those who presented, and to all others who contributed to the conference planning.  The event proved to be fun, engaging and relevant to rural practice.  We hope to do the same next year – provisionally booked at the Craigmonie Hotel again on 2nd-4th November 2017.  Meantime, at RGPAS we are keen to stimulate and encourage further work in Scottish rural practice.  A new committee was formed, and I am delighted to take the helm of an able and enthusiastic team.  It’s going to be an exciting year!

Here’s some photos of the event…

 

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