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Mayara Floss: the challenges for women working in rural health

Mayara Floss

This video of Dr Mayara Floss – rural doctor in Brazil and passionate advocate for international rural health – has recently been publicised via the Rural WONCA email list by Dr John Wynn Jones, chair of the WONCA Working Party on Rural Health.

Mayara was invited to give her perspective on the issue of “Investing in rural health workers for the economic participation and empowerment of rural women and girls” at a meeting of the joint Commission on the Status of Women: a side-event of the World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation, Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations and Women in Global Health.

John introduced the video more eloquently than I could, and so with his permission, here’s what he said:

Dear All

I want to congratulate Mayara and thank her on behalf of Rural Wonca and all the rural health workers around the world for her presentation and wise words at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Mayara is an exceptional person. I can’t even call her a future leader because despite the fact that this is her first year as a doctor she is already a world leader and an example to us all. It will be the Mayara’s of this world who will take up the mantle for the next generation and its our duty to support them.

Please look at the video of her session. She describes how medical schools in the largely rural country of Brazil do little to promote and teach rural health care. She eloquently describes her own journey against the odds and her quest to work among rural communities and the barriers that she encountered. Everyone needs to watch her presentation! 

During the panel session she implores us first to listen to our patients and are communities before coming up with ” so called helpfull solutions”.

She also asks us to think about the political tragedy that is happening in Brazil and the dismantling of one of the most enlightened primary care systems in the world and its replacement with private health.

We are all very proud of her and the many other members of Rural Seeds who are working so hard around the world to build their careers and make a difference for rural communities.

Kind regards

John

Mayara speaks in the video below for 20 minutes, at 30 minutes in, and there are subsequent (excellent!) contributions to the discussion thereafter.

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Dumfries & Galloway GP event – invitation to come visit!

Calling all GPs with itchy feet…

We invite you to come and spend a night in the lovely Creebridge House Hotel in Newton Stewart on
Saturday 28 April 2018.

Dinner, bed and breakfast for you and a partner will all be paid for.

All we ask is that you share dinner on the Saturday evening with a few local GPs.  We would also like to treat you to lunch at the Crown Hotel in Portpatrick on the Sunday.

How you spend the rest of your weekend is up to you…

For more information, please contact Lucy Gurling (GP Liaison Officer) at lucy.gurling@nhs.net

There is no cost to you for this event. We want to make it easy for you to come and experience the beauty and feel-good nature of Wigtownshire. Our hope is that, once you have had a taste of the place, you may consider coming to live and work here.

To register for this event, we need an assurance from you that you are a fully qualified GP who is actively considering a move within the next year, and that you are open minded about moving to rural Wigtownshire.

Anyone interested should contact Lucy Gurling by emailing lucy.gurling@nhs.net describing in a couple of paragraphs a little about you and why you would like to come to this event.

In terms of plans for the weekend, we would be more than happy to point you in the direction of places of interest in the area, and also happy to organise informal tours of GP premises if requested.

Please come armed with questions about living and working here, and also about family life – we will do our best to answer you. But if, having visited, you decide this area is not for you, we will respect that and will be pleased that you came to explore what Wigtownshire has to offer.

For more information you can view this PDF or watch the clip below…

Banner image above courtesy of JMiall
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Prof Paul Worley – Rural Health Commissioner for Australia

In a really interesting development for rural health internationally, Australia has appointed its first Rural Health Commissioner.

Charged with the responsibility of overseeing and driving a wide range of activities around supporting ‘rural generalism’ the post offers a chance to provide more co-ordinated leadership across domains, regions and disciplines to make rural health strategy more cohesive in Australia.

Professor Paul Worley has been appointed as the first Rural Health Commissioner and this move has been widely welcomed across the rural health community.  He brings an impressive portfolio of experience to the post, including in clinical, academic, educational and strategic development aspects of rural health.  You can watch Dr David Gillespie MP announce the post, and Prof Worley outline some of his visions for the future (at 5min 55s), in the video below.

Twitter and other social networks – including the WONCA Working Party on Rural Health international email list – have been buzzing with positivity about the new post, and it is likely that this approach might pave the way for similar developments in other countries.

In Scotland, we are watching developments with interest.  Rural medicine and health services are of significant importance in Scotland’s National Health Service – 98% of Scotland’s land mass is rural, and 18% of Scotland’s population live in a rural area, with many more flocking to rural areas during holidays.  And yet despite considerable aspects of medical care being delivered by GPs and primary care teams, within community hospitals, A&E units and facilities outwith the usual remit of GPs, there continues to be relatively little in the way of co-ordinated clinical governance and strategic unity to link rural and isolated practitioners together.  These services provided by rural GPs remain considered to be on the ‘fringes’ of general medical practice.  Therefore the opportunities created by appointing an experienced individual to provide leadership, stimulate innovation and inspire positive approaches, are sorely needed in areas other than Australia.

Having met Paul at the WONCA World Rural Health conference in Cairns this year, I’m delighted to hear this news and inspired to think that this is a situation to watch closely.  I have little doubt that we will be reflecting that Scotland could benefit from a similar approach in the near future.

Well done Australia, and all the folks involved in making this happen.  These are exciting times.

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Students present Bright Ideas for Rural Practice

This year, the Rural GP Association of Scotland has once again run its student conference scholarship programme.  This is a significant investment for RGPAS, which uses money raised into its Educational Trust fund to support these scholarships.  The scholarships offer heavily-subsidised tickets to enable undergraduate students in the UK to attend and participate in the annual RGPAS conference.

To apply, students were asked to submit a 60 second sound or video clip explaining their Bright Idea for Rural Practice.  We are delighted to feature the winning entries below.

A number of these will be selected for PechaKucha-style presentation at our conference in November.  You can read more about the scholarships here, and also a great write-up of last year’s conference by one of the scholarship holders then, Catherine Lawrence from Hull & York Medical School.

There is still time to sign up to the conference, which takes place from 2-4 November 2017 in Inverness.  £130 for GPs or £65 for trainees gets you two-and-a-half days of quality CPD, along with a conference dinner (and wine).  It’s a great way to catch up with like-minded colleagues, and hear updates on clinical and non-clinical topics that are relevant to rural practice in Scotland.

Well done to all our scholarship winners.  We look forward to meeting you in Inverness!

Rohan Bald (Glasgow): Tackling Loneliness

Emma Bean (Glasgow 5th Year): Drones

Josephine Bellhouse (Glasgow): Improving Use of Communication Technology

Katherine Cox (Glasgow 4th Year): Developing Videoconferencing Peer Support

David Gibson (Glasgow): Awareness of Rural Medicine as a Career

Haiyang Hu (Glasgow): Access to Mental Health Services

Saskia Loysen (Glasgow): Increasing the use of Telemedicine (and pyjama bottoms)

Eloise Miller (Glasgow): Develop Rural Medicine Intercalated Degrees

Danielle Parsons (Aberdeen 4th Year): a Rural Medical School for Scotland

Gregor Stark (Glasgow 5th Year): Rural Research Consortium

Rosslyn Waite (Dundee): Improving Connectivity

Hannah Webb (Glasgow 2nd Year): Access to Sexual Health Services

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Highland innovations in eHealth

Thanks to RGPAS member Dr Richard Weekes for highlighting some fantastic work going on in NHS Highland to innovate eHealth applications aimed at improving access to healthcare in rural settings.

Here’s an introductory video showcasing some of the projects…

…an STV news item about the PILLCAM project in Ullapool to provide easy access to endoscopy facilities – using some very novel technology…

… and more about bringing endoscopy to rural communities…

… and the RAPID project to overcome connectivity challenges in rural Scotland…

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What happens when Deep End goes Rural?!

Many readers will be familiar with the Deep End project, originating in Glasgow but which has spread far and wide in describing the work of GPs working in areas of urban deprivation.  The original project brought together 100 general practices serving the most socio-economically deprived populations in Scotland.  The project team has carried out a fantastic amount of work to highlight the impact of inequalities on prevalence of medical conditions and access to healthcare.

So what happens when a Deep End GP (or a GP and GP trainee, to be precise!) travel out for some time in a remote island practice?  Dr Maria Duffy and Dr Elizabeth Dryden did exactly that, when they travelled to Benbecula to spend a week with rural GP Dr Kate Dawson… and produced this short video of their experience…

 

You can follow the Deep End project on Twitter – see below.

We look forward to the sequel!

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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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#RGPAS16 brimming with student ideas for #ruralGP

newlogosquaretextToday over 80 students, trainees and rural GPs will meet up in Inverness, for the annual conference of the Rural GP Association of Scotland.

This year’s event has attracted record numbers of attendees, and a stimulating programme of events is in store, along with lots of opportunities to chat, network and seek new ideas for rural practice.

As part of the RGPAS student scholarship programme, we have encouraged student delegates to submit video or audio clips of around 60 seconds, outlining their visions of the future of rural practice.

Not all clips are available as yet, and we will develop this page over the next week to include more clips, as well as add the photos of RGPAS students on this page too.  In the meantime, take a listen to the diverse and innovative ideas being put forward by the students below, all of whom will be joining us in Inverness.  Great to hear such an inspired group of students!

The conference will run from 2pm today – Thursday 3rd November – to Friday 4th November.  You can follow events on twitter using the hashtag #RGPAS16 – we hope to share reports and presentations from the conference on RuralGP.com soon after the conference too.

 

Innovation ideas

Sally Andrews (Aberdeen University): On the role of telemedicine to improve patient care and good housing availability to improve recruitment to rural areas…


Joe Daley (Glasgow University): Improving the interface between rural primary care and secondary care input…


Rhys Hall (Glasgow University):  The use of drones to overcome geographical barriers of rural practice…


Catherine Lawrence (Hull & York Medical School): Reflects on her experience of a Scottish rural GP elective…


Scott MacDonald (Glasgow University): Using technology to allow patients to take more responsibility for monitoring their health…


Lean-Lik Ng (Dundee University): How to engage with medical students of today to pave the way for future rural general practice…


Iona Robertson (Dundee University): Describes the increasing role of telemedicine in reducing the need to travel longer distances to secondary care…


Keenan Smith (Glasgow University): Reflecting on infrastructural revolution to provide better access to rural healthcare…


Blair Wallace (Dundee University): On the role of point-of-care investigations in improving efficiencies and quality of care offered to rural patients…

 

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