The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has partnered with Westminster’s All Party Group on Global Health at an event in the Houses of Parliament on Monday 27 November to promote global citizenship in the Scottish NHS.
Surgeons Mike McKirdy and Stuart Fergusson urged a cross-party group of MPs, Peers and guests at the event to support calls from the College for the Scottish NHS to embrace a culture of global citizenship in the Scottish health service, and provide improved support for NHS staff who undertake this vital work.
The event was chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp, the former Chief Executive of the NHS in England. Ben Simms, CEO of the Tropical Health and Education Trust completed the panel of experts.
Following the event, the College’s Director for Global Health Mr Mike McKirdy said:
"I’m grateful for the APPG on Global Health for providing this platform to discuss this report.
"Many Scottish health service workers currently undertake international development work on a predominantly voluntary basis. The aim of our report is to suggest how the Scottish health service can better encourage, support and coordinate this vital activity. An enhanced focus on coordination and quality will help harness the substantial benefits of volunteering to Scotland’s health sector workers and optimise the benefits to healthcare services in partner countries and back in the Scottish NHS.
Co-author Mr Stuart Fergusson said:
"Our report provides evidence of the mutual benefits to individuals and the Scottish NHS of engaging in global citizenship. That’s why we have set out eight recommendations for action, including support for the development of a more strategic approach to this issue by NHS Scotland, as well as coordinating this work across the country.
"We’ve already had constructive discussions with NHS Scotland on adopting our recommendations, so I hope that today’s event will help build an even greater base of support for further improvements to this agenda over the coming months."
The report can be found here. Its recommendations are:
1. Developing a strategic approach: NHSScotland should consider articulating a strategic approach to global health engagement which embraces global citizenship in the Scottish health service.
2. Professionalising coordination and support: The Scottish Government should consider professionalising and resourcing coordination and support of global health work at a national level.
3. Maximising benefit: NHSScotland should consider exploring how the potential personal and professional benefits of global health work could best be maximised in the Scottish health service.
4. Ensuring effectiveness: NHSScotland should support global health work which is needs-led and follows principles of effective partnership working.
5. Valuing collaboration: NHSScotland should consider committing to collaborative engagement and advocacy on global health issues.
6. Expressing local commitment: NHSScotland should consider asking all Health Boards to articulate a focused organisational commitment to global citizenship.
7. Defining support mechanisms: NHSScotland, in partnership with Health Boards, should consider defining support mechanisms for international volunteering.
8. Setting expectations: NHSScotland should consider articulating its expectations of Scottish health service workers when engaging in global health work.