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GURRMS18 conference a massive success in Portree

Last week we highlighted the programme for the GURRMS (Glasgow University Remote & Rural Medicine Society) conference in Portree.  Over 80 students and delegates attended this event last weekend, and as expected, it was a superbly positive event that covered many aspects of rural practice in Scotland and beyond.

James McHugh, GURRMS President

It must be highlighted once again, that tickets for this event sold out within 15 minutes of becoming available online.  Behind the conference was a ton of work, ably overseen by GURRMS President and final year Glasgow medical student, James McHugh – who compered the activities along with his committee with aplomb, tight organisation and enthusiasm.

A good line up of varied speakers featured on the first day of the conference.  Dr Emma Watson opened the conference, and after this I gave a presentation on ‘Rural GP – Is it What It’s Cracked Up to Be’ – with an honest portrayal of opportunities and challenges that exist within a career of rural practice.  I used some of my own stories to highlight the privilege that many of us feel in being able to provide primary care (along with all the additional services of rural practice) to our communities, along with the breadth of practice that keeps days interesting, challenging and demanding of effective teamwork.  We touched upon some of the current challenges of getting health policy adequately rural-proofed, and reflected that this is a worldwide challenge – which makes for truly international career opportunities.

This was followed by Dr Luke Regan talking about ‘Why I Love My Job and You Should Too’ – he is an Emergency Physician at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness with experience of delivering rural emergency care both in Scotland and Australia. His talk included a simulated walk-through of a rural cardiac emergency, ably assisted by student ‘volunteers’ from the audience.

Prof Phil Wilson explored the research and academic opportunities available to rural GPs, and considered the ethical obligation on us all to appraise and share lessons learned from service and therapeutic innovations.

Phil Wilson on Scottish trials to use transcranial ultrasound to diagnose thrombolysable stroke

Dr Jacqueline Bennebroek then offered an insight into her work as a Rural Practitioner at the MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford, Skye.

Jacqueline on her role as a Rural Practitioner on Skye

Ben Price on the role of BASICS Scotland and emergency responders across rural Scotland.

Workshops were run on ‘The Lesser Spotted BASICS Responder’ by Dr Ben Price, and a Training Perspective of Rural Practice by Dr Ian Pooleman and Dr Ailsa Leslie.  Three well-delivered presentations in Pecha Kucha style featured from Duncan Stewart, Isla Kempe and Ellen Gardner on their student experiences, from elective placements to reflections on being a student on the new Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship now offered to Dundee 4th year students. The verdict – a big dose of reassurance that LICs offer a fantastic environment for learning medicine, and the fears about having gaps in knowledge did not materialise.  Indeed this has been shown in repeated reviews of LIC learning that students conclude their LIC placements with greater knowledge, insight and propensity to pass exams.

Rural surgical legend Dr David Sedgwick talked about his Life and Work as a Rural Surgeon over 25 years – most of which was at the Belford Hospital in Fort William.  The fact that David had just arrived back from teaching in Rwanda the previous day was particularly impressive, and highlighted again the role that rural doctors and surgeons can have in global healthcare.

Prof Sarah Strasser during one of the student workshops

The keynote talk ‘Rural Health Worldwide’ was delivered by rural health stalwarts Prof Roger Strasser and Prof Sarah Strasser.  They had travelled into Scotland the previous day, covering even more impressive mileage than David Sedgwick… it is perhaps testament to the GURRMS committee that they facilitated such experienced input, and that Roger and Sarah were willing to travel from Canada and Australia respectively to make it to Portree.  Their talk was followed by a particularly engaging question and answer session, and it was clear that delegates were inspired and enthused by the perspectives that Roger and Sarah brought to the conference.

10 Skills of a Rural Doctor – from talk by Roger and Sarah Strasser

The day concluded with an evening reception including ceilidh.  The next day GURRMS successfully ferried delegates across north west Scotland – with some walking in nearby scenery, some opting for whisky tasting, some going for mountain rescue training and some travelling to the Western Isles for a 2 day trip to see the hospital in Stornoway and the surrounding area.

Well done once again to the GURRMS Committee for a well-organised, good-natured and inspiring conference.  We hope to see plans develop for GURRMS19 next year – and we hope that the Scottish rural GP community will support the event once again.

More photos below…

 

 

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International research into rural young people’s views

Research into rural youth launched to coincide with the Year of Young People

An initiative designed to research and better understand rural young people, aged 18-28, has been launched. The Rural Youth Project coincides with the 2018 Year of Young People and will combine an online survey, year-long in-depth video logs (vlogs) of 15-20 rural young people and a Rural Youth Ideas Festival.

The target countries for the research are: England, Scotland, Wales and, internationally, Austria, Australia and the USA.

Collaborative

The initiative is a social enterprise venture and is the brainchild of Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes. The Rural Youth Project has the support of partners interested and engaged in the rural youth ‘space’, they are LANTRA Scotland, the Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC), Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Rural Action, Scottish Rural Network and YouthLink Scotland, and will be managed by Jane Craigie Marketing.

Inspired by their participation in leadership initiatives, including the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme and the Windsor Leadership Programme, Jane and Rebecca aim to identify and engage young rural leaders to help them drive positive change within their local rural communities.

“Rural young people are fundamental to the vibrancy, energy and economic outlook of rural places,” explains Jane Craigie. “We wanted to better understand what young people perceive their challenges and opportunities to be, as well as gaining a better understanding of their degree of optimism for the future.”

Important to understand the needs of rural young people

Rebecca Dawes, with her background in the SAYFC, added that there is a real lack of insight into this important group within our rural communities, hence the decision to run this project.

She said: “the research to date amongst rural young people, both nationally and internationally, has been fragmented, but what we do know is that rural areas have a lower percentage of 16-34 year-olds and evidence suggests that migration of young people away from rural areas hinges on education, employment opportunities, housing and public transport availability – some of the many research areas that we are surveying.

“With so much emphasis on youth this year, we want to make sure that rural young people have a voice that will be heard, what better way is there to share their outlook?”

The project, which will be repeated annually, aims to research a wide range of rural young people including those working in education, farming, retail and hospitality, as well as those who are in full time education, or unemployed.

“The project, which will be repeated in 2019-22, has the bold ambition to better inform society and policy-makers about the vibrant talent that is held amongst our rural youth, and to compare our findings with those from other countries around the world.

James Rose explained why the Scottish Rural Network are supporting the project “The future of rural Scotland is in the hands of its young people. In 2018, the Year of Young People, The Scottish Rural Network (SRN) is supporting the Rural Youth Project to gain a vital insight into what matters to young people in rural areas and bring together the people who will define our rural communities in the years to come.”

Penny Montgomerie from SAYFC added “Young people need to have the confidence to drive policy and influence decision makers on matters that impact them rather than relying on older generations to make presumptions on their needs.”

Jane Craigie Marketing will use their wide-reaching networks within the international agricultural and rural leadership community and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists to publicise the project and its outcomes.

The survey will open on 26 January and close on 30 April 2018. The incentive for completing the survey is a pair of tickets to the TRANSMT Festival in Glasgow on 8 July or a pair of tickets for ButeFest 2018.

The 2018 Project will culminate in a three-day Rural Youth Ideas Festival, run by Jane Craigie Marketing on 20-22 July in rural Scotland and an action plan developed by the Project partners.

The survey can be reached via the Project website www.ruralyouthproject.com

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What matters in remote & rural practice? Your input requested…

RuralGP.com has just received this request from Elizabeth, who is seeking contributions to research that she is carrying out into the needs of remote & rural practice in Scotland.  If you are able to assist, please contact Elizabeth directly…

My name is Elizabeth Lemmon, I am a PhD student based at the University of Stirling and currently undertaking an internship at the Scottish Government within the Health and Social Care Analysis Team. The aim of the internship is to carry out some research into remote and rural general practice in Scotland in an attempt to better characterise them in terms of their activities and the challenges they face. I’m currently pulling together data which are publicly available on general practices to improve the evidence base and identify where further data analysis are needed.

I am contacting you to ask if anyone would be interested in sharing their experiences within remote and rural general practice and highlight any areas which you feel are priorities or which need further research?

I understand that there is currently work taking place within the Scottish Government on the Primary Care Evidence Collaborative which is developing a 10-year evaluation framework for primary care transformation. The work I will be doing during my internship on remote and rural practices will help to identify priorities for data, research and analysis and ensure that rural issues are included.

Any feedback is much appreciated!

Elizabeth Lemmon
Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Intern
Health and Social Care Analysis
Scottish Government
Email: Elizabeth.Lemmon@gov.scot
T: 0131 244 3469

 

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RRH Guide to Getting your work Published

One of the sessions at #ruralwonca was delivered by some of the team at the Journal for Remote & Rural Health.  I was really sorry to miss it, due to presenting in another session, but my tweeted request to make the advice available online was answered quickly and the presentation is now available – see below.

The journal team are keen to encourage and motivate rural healthcare professionals to share their research, and seem genuinely interested in helping budding writers to put pen-to-paper or finger-to-keyboard.

There is a lot of great innovation and problem-solving going on in rural practice.  Rural healthcare professionals tend to know their communities well, are used to dealing with limited resources, and some of the best examples of teamwork are to be found in rural settings.  However ‘being academic does not come easy to everyone, and the process of writing up evaluation and research can sometimes feel tedious and time-consuming.

However, it is now easier than ever to find interested journals, and there seems to be a drive to make the steps to getting work published more accessible.

Watch the presentation below for the RRH team’s top tips on getting your research out to a wider audience.  You can find the guidelines for authors available here.

Also, on the theme of research, here’s a great project that aims to enable rural doctors to develop their research activity through pragmatic and direct support.  Delivered by the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University in Newfoundland, it’s called the ‘6 for 6’ programme.  Click here for more details or watch the video below.

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Protective personality traits for LICs

Assoc Professor Diann Eley

Today I attended a session at #ruralwonca which was delivered by Associate Professor Diann Eley from the University of Queensland on the role of personality traits on student experience of Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships.

Diann has gained considerable experience in this area, and specifically on how best to support and mentor students effectively whilst encouraging them to reflect on their own personalities – and how that impacts on their clinical decision-making.

I was delighted that Diann gave me a few minutes of her time after her presentation to discuss this in more detail, particularly as this work is highly relevant to the development of LICs in Scotland.

You can listen to our discussion here:

 

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Clinical courage: an evolving concept crucial to rural practice

I was introduced to the concept of clinical courage when attending an International Rural Research Symposium last year at Tromso University in Norway.  Dr Lucie Walters, of Flinders University in Australia, ran an enthralling workshop about some work that she and her team are doing to quantify and understand what we mean and can learn from clinical courage, particularly in the context of professional isolation and delivery of rural health services.

It’s a concept that seems to resonate easily with rural health practitioners, particularly rural GPs.  Despite this, there is relatively little that I have found to expand on the concept.  Two very helpful resources are a “President’s Message. Clinical Courage” by Dr John Wooton (found in Can J Rural Med 2011; 16(2)) and two comments from Peter Dunlop and Keith MacLellan in the followup issue (found in Can J Rural Med 2011; 16(3)).  The latter comment introduces another concept of ‘learned helplessness’, and I suspect that this will be of increasing importance as debate evolves regarding the fragmentation of undergraduate curriculums and the need to consider generalist undifferentiated training versus teaching in more specialist settings.

So, I was delighted to be asked to participate in an interview run by two of the Flinders University students Ella and Laura who are assisting with the project, whilst here in Cairns at the WONCA World Rural Health Conference.  They interviewed me, and they kindly agreed to me interviewing them!

You can hear about their experiences of medical teaching so far, and also more about the concept of clinical courage in the audio clip below:

 

Ella and Laura, 2nd year medical students at Flinders University

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RuralGP.com at #ruralwonca

Today marks the start of the 14th WONCA World Rural Health Conference, being held in Cairns, Australia.

The programme is set to contain a fantastically diverse range of research and workshops covering everything from improvements in patient care, to developing new and effective ways to collaborate across boundaries in rural health.  You can follow the events on twitter using the #RuralWonca hashtag, and already there has been a huge number of comment and links

View the WONCA Rural Conference programme

So far, the vibe at #RuralWonca has been great… benefitting from Cairns hospitality (boosted by a dynamic and helpful team from ACRRM) and a stimulating range of input from stalwart experts in rural medicine, to young, enthusiastic students and young doctors.

Thursday saw a full day of proceedings for the WONCA World Working Party for Rural Health – with the annual Council meeting held in spectacular surroundings of a seminar room looking directly onto rainforest.  As well as hearing about events from the last year, and sorting out logistics for yet another busy year ahead, there was debate about how best to support member organisations and do everything possible to support the growing number of student and young doctor organisations.  The highlight of 2018 is set to be the 15th World Rural Health Conference.  Crumbs, we haven’t even started the 14th conference yet, but for a taster of what’s in store – in New Delhi – see the video below!

Friday brought the World Summit on Rural Generalist Medicine.  The concept and importance of rural generalism in health ecosystems is reaching high levels of resonance now within Australia (where political support for recognising this is higher than ever), and much further afield in both ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations.  It is clear that empowering rural generalism within healthcare systems has never been more important, with absolute needs to train future doctors in medical complexity, meet the demands of an ageing population and achieve the levels of health service efficiency that are often more easy to find in the generalist setting.

The Summit also saw the launch of the Japanese Rural Generalist Programme: a major achievement and indicative of the direction that other countries are likely to go too, not least through the inspiration that these developments bring.

You can follow tweets from the Summit meeting using the hashtag #RuralGeneralist

And now for the main event.  This looks set to be a stimulating and busy few days ahead, bringing together an enthusiastic and dedicated group of international confreres giving the opportunity to recognise and drive forward international innovation and collaboration in rural health.  We hope to feature a number of interviews and reports on RuralGP.com over the next few days, like we did with the last conference in Dubrovnik, between a very packed and interesting programme of events.

Follow the WONCA World Rural Health Conference on Twitter:

#ruralwonca

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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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New research: rural recruitment & retention

rural-4In January this year, I was contacted by Pauline von Zabeltitz, a final year student at the University of Aberdeen, who was studying for an MA (Hons) in Economics and International Relations.

For her dissertation, she was keen to explore the various projects and initiatives being used to improve recruitment and retention to rural GP practice in Scotland.

Pauline has very kindly agreed to having her dissertation published on RuralGP.com in order to share the analysis that she has undertaken over the last six months.  Her report provides yet more substance behind some of the core issues that we know affects rural recruitment & retention, whilst providing another perspective and some new ideas to add to the present work on this area.

Coming from a family with a strong medical background, healthcare related issues have always been of great interest to me and throughout my degree, I got the chance to explore this topic further through a Health Economics course. Discussing Health Economic issues and policies led me eventually to my final Dissertation topic, writing about the recruitment and retention issues in rural Scotland regarding healthcare providers such as GPs.

Specific issues highlighted include rural connectivity, access to undergraduate placements and the GP Rural Fellowship scheme.  She manages to cover a wide spectrum of other considerations, and some evaluation of present approaches to this problem.

You can download her report by clicking on the button below.

An analysis of current initiatives targeting the recruitment and retention of GPs to remote and rural Scotland [1.4 MB]

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Abstracts Invited for Rethinking Remote 2016

remoteconf

Abstracts are invited for the Rethinking Remote conference, to be held on 23-24 May 2016 in Inverness.

Programme themes:

  • PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
  • EDUCATION
  • TECHNOLOGY

Specific themes

Submissions are invited in areas broadly related to the main conference themes above.

These are likely to cover topics such as:

  • pre-hospital care
  • extreme remote care
  • management of time-critical emergencies
  • patient safety
  • rural health care
  • models for remote supervision and support
  • new kinds of healthcare workers
  • health care competencies; educating remote workers
  • recruitment and retention
  • psychosocial care of citizens and staff in remote areas
  • digital technology and innovations in remote health care
  • self care
  • point-of-care
  • decision  support

Deadline for abstract submissions is 29th January 2016.

More information available at the conference website.

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