UK hospices shares expertise with GP trainees from the Netherlands

Categories: Education.

GP trainees from Maastricht University who have choose the Surrey based hospice as their elective stay with a local family and work alongside teams at the hospice, playing an integral part in the care of patients for the duration of their six-week placement.

The aim is for the trainees to take what they have learnt back to their practices in the Netherlands, as well as to bring their ideas and experience to the clinical team in England.

“Hearing about how end of life care is approached in a different country broadens your horizons and opens your mind to new ways of thinking,” explains Fiona Bailey, outgoing medical director at the hospices.

“It is also great to work with enthusiastic GPs who are willing to present different ideas and engage with everyone. The Dutch doctors are exceptionally skilled GPs and we learn a lot through discussing our patients’ medical needs with them.”

Explaining the differences between healthcare in the two countries, Fiona adds: “GPs in the Netherlands tend to take the lead on most medical decisions. as opposed to UK GPs who are obliged to refer patients to specialists, meaning that the Dutch doctors have lots of advice to offer from their own personal experience. Each system has its merits and there is something to be learnt from both.”

Stephan Widjaja, a trainee who has recently spent time on placement with the hospice, said that students at Maastricht University are “really blessed” to have the option of a placement with Woking & Same Beare Hospices.

Stephan said: “I am learning so much, I could stay another six weeks! Everyone works as a team and communicates to each other. I get to know so much about my patients because my colleagues take time to learn about them as individuals; it was a lot to take in at first but now I am getting the hang of it.”

Palliative care in the Netherlands

“We have 150 small hospices in the Netherlands and the number is growing. However, palliative care is very different there,” explains Stephan.

“For most of the population they have no palliative care options except a nursing home. There is also a very limited palliative care system in general, with the GP doing most of the service coordination, for example contacting the district nurses and referring patients to the palliative pain team at the hospital.

“GPs in the Netherlands have around 2,500 patients on their books at any one time, access to a GP is 24/7 so they are busy people!

“The system you have set up over here for care in the home is excellent. Patients in the Netherlands have no access to the hospital or secondary care except for through their doctors; GPs see a lot of patients at home too.

“Britain is really advanced in palliative care. Nothing back home is quite as good as here, and in my opinion too many people die unnecessarily at hospital instead of in a hospice or at home where they want to be.

“I believe that palliative care consultants see problems here a lots quicker than we would at home, they are decades ahead of us in terms of knowledge, allowing them to fully understand new treatments and medications as they are available.”

You can read the full interviews with Fiona and Stephan on the hospices’ website.

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