UK-Med’s David Anderson and Stephen Owens featured on the World Extreme Medicine Podcast

We were delighted to be invited onto the World Emergency Medicine (WEM) podcast to chat about the benefits of overseas deployments for NHS staff and UK-Med’s Global Health Responders report.

David Anderson (UK-Med’s Health Referent and Emergency Department nurse) and Stephen Owens (UK-Med Member and Consultant Paediatrician in Infectious Diseases and Immunology) joined WEM Medical Director Dr Will Duffin in January 2022.

They discuss the findings of UK Med’s Global Health Responders report and reflect on their own experiences of humanitarian deployments and how releasing NHS staff to do this vital work:

improves clinician's clinical skills, team working and leadership skills;

boosts clinician’s resilience and staves off burnout;

builds vital skills in managing infectious disease outbreaks that have informed the UK response to COVID-19;

has a real and meaningful impact on patients in low resource settings;

benefits the wider NHS and any developed health system deploying medics.

“Fundamentally, working with people with different skillsets allows you to develop your own skills”

A common question that UK-Med receives on social media is: why are you taking NHS workers away when the NHS is struggling too?

David Anderson challenges this perception by saying: “Particularly in the winter in the UK, we all know that hospitals are under an immense amount of pressure.

“It’s hugely busy in Emergency Medicine – in particular with Omicron – but there are massive benefits to releasing people out of the system, to allow them to come back rejuvenated and refreshed back into a system which they may be becoming slightly tired with,” he explains.

“So, I think, particularly policymakers and senior staff in hospitals, don’t necessarily understand that absolute benefit in releasing someone, for two, three, four weeks to go away and get that rejuvenation and the love for their job back again.”

While discussing the impact that an overseas response has on a NHS worker’s clinical skills, David explains, “Fundamentally, working with people with different skillsets allows you to develop your own skills, think very differently about it, and allow you to – to use the Great British phrase – think slightly outside the box, because we do actually get very rigid in the NHS, we get stuck sometimes on a linear path.”

Stephen adds how the the overseas deployments provide you with “a new found appreciation of what the NHS does. It’s a phenomenal organisation that achieves great things, often with limited resources under the most challenging circumstances, and it does it day-in, day-out, every day of the year.

“And that’s lovely. That’s a great thing to be brought home to you.”

Listen to the full podcast on Anchor or Spotify below:

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