Well, those who know me are aware that (apart from roadkill recipes), two of my current interests are to try and develop a national network of prehospital doctors drawn from the rural workforce and also to improve training in skills and equipment for rural doctors.
I’m grateful for recent email exchanges with Drs Minh Le Cong (RFDS Qld) and Dr Ray Gadd (on an EM secondment in the wilder parts of Tasmania). Minh has gained a reputation as a ‘promiscuous blogger’ and his pearls of wisdom crop up on websites such as LifeInTheFastLane, EM-crit, Resus.me and Broome Docs. he’s also been the main driving force behind the excellent retrieval medicine module on RRMEO (the ACRRM online portal). He’s a rural doctor now working as a retrieval specialist and clearly ‘gets’ the issues facing rural communities. Ray’s down in Tasmania doing some EM upskilling and has made me awestruck with his knowledge of obscure cardiac arrhythmias, ready-grasp of ultrasound and sheer passion for rural medicine.
I’ve been buoyed recently by Minh’s tacit support for some sort of organisation akin to the UK BASICS, but he correctly points out that this has to be driven from the rural doc workforce. My opinions on this are laid out elsewhere on this site. Meanwhile Ray and I have chatted about perhaps creating a new upskilling course for rural doctors – a sort of ‘masterclass’ building on the best bits of courses such as APLS, ELS, RESP, EMST, ALSO, MOET, PHTLS etc but with constantly evolving content (such as that on the abovementioned blogs) of relevance to the rural workforce (apnoeic preoxygenation, USS for PTX, RUSH, etc etc).
Ideally such a course (or clinical update) could be delivered in regional areas, with small groups and immersive scenario-training and hands on with lots of equipment (ultrasound, videolaryngoscopes, airway adjuncts, emergency kit etc and an opportunity for cross-training with local ambulance/retrieval/emergency services for the trauma component).
Anyhow, there has been some more good news this week from my home State of South Australia – a new programme for creating ‘home grown’ procedural GPs in SA has been endorsed by Country Health SA and looks set to deliver both training posts and a sustainable workforce for the future. Called ‘Road to Rural General Practice‘ this model is well overdue. Currently SA procedural doctors may have to travel interstate to upskill (I did my obs in Tasmania, my anaesthetics in NSW) and indeed opportunities for procedural doctors can be tempting interstate…if this system trains and retains doctors in SA, that’d be great.
|Launch of Careflight’s mobile MedSIm at Orange Hospital, rural NSW|
Meanwhile, back in Orange, NSW where I am upskilling in anaesthetics, I was asked to give a lecture on massive transfusion to candidates on the TART course (delivered by the NSW ITM, a course I’d not heard of previously). CareFlight were involved (hi to Zoe Rodgers and co. if you’re reading)…and later in the hospital carpark I spotted Careflight’s excellent MedSim mobile sim-lab and their dedicated car wreck trainer.
Seeing this has got me all enthused again – so projects for 2012 will be to try and get an Australian ‘BASICs‘ up and running…and to try and sell the idea of a course aimed squarely at the rural doctor, preferably badged under ACRRM and offering immersive, hands-on, up-to-date education at a level above existing courses but perhaps spending half a day on each of EM, Obs, Anaes, Trauma and Paeds/Psych, with guest speaker, equipment demos and scenario-based small-group learning.
I’m excited. I hope others will want to join in…