Many NHS Scotland staff give their time and expertise to volunteering work in healthcare settings across the world – helping to make big improvements in the health of other countries whilst at the same time benefitting Scotland.
On Friday 29th June Soapbox and NHS Grampian were delighted to host a lunchtime seminar on Global Citizenship exploring the mutual benefits to be gained by international volunteering by those working in the health sector.
We were thrilled to welcome Brenda Longstaff, Head of International Partnerships at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Northumbria Healthcare are at the forefront of work in the international volunteering field and are recognised internationally for innovation in global health. For almost 20 years, Northumbria’s volunteer teams have provided training and support to staff at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, dramatically improving patients’ experience of healthcare in Tanzania.
The seminar was also attended by the Scottish Government’s Senior Policy Manager Kerry Chalmers. Kerry leads the Global Citizenship Programme which recognises the enormous benefits of international volunteering. Kerry discussed how the program will support the Scottish health service to better encourage, support and coordinate international development work.
Jennie Spence, a nurse practitioner in Critical Care at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, shared her recent first-hand experience of international volunteering. Earlier this year, in conjunction with Soapbox and NHS Grampian (via the Aberdeen-Bahir Dar Knowledge Exchange Partnership), Jennie travelled to Ethiopia to spend some time with staff in the Intensive Care Unit of Felege Hiwot Hospital in Bahir Dar.
Jennie highlighted how the visit has benefitted both her as an individual and as a member of the NHSG healthcare team as well as the Intensive Care team in Felege Hiwot.
The seminar, held in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, was attended by members of staff from all cadres of the health service as well as students and representatives from local NGOs. Soapbox’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Wendy Graham, chaired the seminar and thanked all of our speakers and those who attended for their fantastic contribution to the event.
For more information on global citizenship within the Scottish health service you can visit the Scottish Global Co-Ordination Unit’s new website: https://www.scottishglobalhealth.org/.
Pictured top: L-R Jennie Spence, Kerry Chalmers, Brenda Longstaff, Gary Mortimer, Jenny Ingram & Wendy Graham