Introduction

Visionary leader, highly respected teacher, healer, mentor, tireless advocate and champion of Rural Health, Dr Pat Farry was unmatched in his efforts and contribution to Rural Medicine and General Practice education. His vision of sustainable and quality health services for rural communities and small towns of New Zealand was through education. He devoted much of his career to advocating and lobbying for improvements and funding for rural medicine. The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust was established in March 2010, with the purpose of continuing this legacy. › Continue reading…

The mountain bikers, skiers and rescue dogs!

Tom and Meagaidh from Search & Rescue

Before I arrived at the Belford it had been joked that in summer the hospital was full of mountain bikers and in winter skiers and snowboarders. This was to prove very true. Although there was still snow on the mountain tops the summer sports were well underway. Mountain bike accidents were right up there with the top admissions and broken vertebrae seemed to be a favourite. I saw neck, back and pelvis injuries as well as very impressive bruising covering one patients entire back. The worst cases were stabilised and sent to the bigger hospitals in Inverness or Glasgow. Most patients were tourists to the area and often transfers could be arranged back to local hospitals or spinal units closer to home in other parts of the UK.

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Taking new skills to scenic Scotland..

Welcome to Main Street, Fort William!

After a quick flight, which served to remind me just how quick and easy travelling in Europe is, I had landed in Scotland. My next placement was at the Belford Hospital in Fort William and getting there was a delight. I passed a scenic afternoon on the train traveling through golden hill ranges and past tiny stations seemingly used only by hikers stepping out to the trails, before arriving at the small but charming town that was to be my home for the next placement. Fort William has a population of around 10,000 but brings in many more visitors through its well-deserved title of ‘’Outdoor Capital of the UK”. The town nestles at the base of the Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. At 1350m it’s on the smaller side by NZ standards but is known to be covered in snow on the tops for most of the year and thus can be a technical climb. In the summer months the area is inundated by walkers and mountain bikers then the winter sees an influx of people for various snow sports. The popular West-Highland Way trail from Glasgow ends here and the mountain biking downhill world champs are held in the area.

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The other end of the spectrum..

The huge Mater Dei Hospital

Having gotten my feet wet in the small rural hospital of Santo, Vanuatu it was time to turn to the opposite end of the spectrum. Mater Dei is a huge 900 bed Hospital located in the main city of Malta, Msida. I applied here because I wanted to contrast what I was seeing in my two rural hospital placements and see a large range of patient presentations in the time I had available. And what an experience it was!

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Oh and Gee!!

A further two beds in the delivery suite

Oh and Gee, are perhaps the politer words to describe what I was often thinking during my rotation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at NDH. The staff are extremely hardworking and do their best with the resources available, but it was a far cry from services available in New Zealand. › Continue reading…

An Intro to Island Time

The entrance to the Emergency Department

Arriving on the beautiful island of Santo Espiritu in Northern Vanuatu I was ready to hit the ground running and submerge myself in my first elective placement. I could already tell by the flight over the island that I was in for an interesting month here. The buildings were mostly concrete block with tin or palm roofs and the main centre of Luganville was tiny (even by New Zealand standards). The main industries on the island seem to be farming, fishing and tourism with the former two grinding to a halt for the latter when the cruise ships arrive in port.

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