Mobile surgical skills unit to teach GPs in Shetland

Medical experts from a Scottish university are set to teach surgical skills to GPs in the most remote part of the country for the first time.

A University of Dundee team will help rural doctors on Shetland. Picture: Istock

The team from Dundee Institute for Healthcare Simulation (DIHS) will be working from NHS Education for Scotland’s Mobile Skills Unit which provides simulation-based training for all kinds of NHS staff across the country.

DIHS will be delivering surgical courses to GPs in Shetland on 16 and 17 May. This is the first time that surgical techniques will be taught from the Mobile Skills Unit, which has primarily been used to teach clinical skills.

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Dr Vanessa Kay, co-director of DIHS, said: “Healthcare staff in rural areas find it harder to take time off to travel to training sessions where they can learn new skills but geography is no excuse for patients in rural areas not having access to the best care possible.

“For many years, we have been delivering training in a wide range of surgical skills to GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and other professionals but this is first time we have taken our training on the road in this way.

“We will be delivering the sessions on how to perform minor surgical procedures from the vehicle, which is fitted out with state-of-the-art simulation equipment. We are very excited to see how this goes and hope to extend this service to other remote areas of the country in future.”

The new Mobile Skills Unit was formally launched by Cabinet Secretary Jeane Freeman on 20 September last year.

Andrea Baker, Clinical Skills manager of NES, said, “It’s essential that wherever you are a patient in Scotland, you can be treated to the highest standards. Clinical skills are the ‘touchpoint’ of the health service and are key to the delivery of person-centred care. This Unit and the teams who operate from it, are an essential part of bringing latest techniques to all parts of Scotland.”

Tory health spokesperson Miles Briggs said: “This is a very practical solution by medics from the University of Dundee for providing surgical training in more remote parts of Scotland, such as Shetland.

“GPs in rural areas often have to take on more responsibilities and mobile surgical training will give GPs the chance to upskill, as well as brushing up on the skills they already have.

“It is important to provide patients in all parts of Scotland with the same level of care and the Mobile Skill Unit will go a long way in achieving this.”