Delivering capability through training - webinar questions

Ebola suit wash

30 / 3 / 2016 1.37pm

Here is a transcript of the questions and answers from the webinar that took place on 11 March 2016.  You can still watch the webinar recording and the featured videos, but if you don't time to listen to it all you can use our guide to fast forward to the bits that interest you the most.

There have been a variety of media stories lately about infectious diseases – how can your procedures be adapted to help the NHS manage these potential outbreaks?

Lt Col Chris Gibson responds:

Our procedures, although bespoke to dealing with the Ebola Virus Disease in the rigour of a West African jungle, are completely adaptable to use within a NHS trust.  We highlighted at last year’s NHS Confederation Annual Conference our willingness to share best practice and that collegiate approach to problem solving prevails.  The standard operating procedure videos are also available to any trust who wishes to utilise them. 

Our audience want to know more about you Chris. Can you tell us about your background, experiences and what you are working on now?  

Lt Col Chris Gibson responds:

I joined the Army as a private soldier straight from school in 1984. Having played all the sports I could manage within my first tour of Germany, I was cajoled into doing some work and completed the Army’s close protection course, deploying in 1988 to Beirut as part of HM Ambassadors Protection Team. Further tours of Beirut in 1989 and 1990 followed. 

I was promoted through the ranks, I have seen operational deployments to Sudan, Algeria, Burundi, Zaire, Columbia, Peru and El Salvador and then a further year on deployment with the Special Forces to Sarajevo 1995 on the Indicted War Criminal Arrest Team.  Further tours of Northern Ireland, Falklands and Cyprus followed and during this time I had the opportunity to lead Short Term Training Teams to Chile, Jamaica and Honduras.

I transferred into the Royal Army Medical Corps as a medical support officer in 2004 and was initially appointed as welfare officer for 3 Close Support Medical Regiment in Catterick and then moved to operations officer. Further tours saw staff appointments at Headquarters 2nd Medical Brigade in York and as an exchange officer to The Canadian Forces Medical School in Ontario. I am a graduate of NHS Staff College and I often lecture in leadership at local NHS trusts. I have recently moved appointments from the Army Medical Services Training Centre where I was employed as chief instructor, responsible for the assurance of deployed hospital care to the Defence Medical Directorate and I am currently the defence lead in assisting London Ambulance Service in countering their special measures grade given by the Care Quality Commission.

How did your trust manage you going to Sierra Leone? What was the impact on them?

Lt Col Maggie Durrant responds:

As a humanitarian support mission, I wasn't able to give my trust much warning about my deployment to Sierra Leone. Confirmation that I was being mobilised for this deployment happened whilst I was away with my reserve unit on annual camp in San Diego, California. I notified my line manager immediately and we arranged a meeting for my first day back from camp to discuss the implications.

I was working with the interim director of operations and patient access manager on issues relating to achieving referral to treatment (RTT) standards, who were keen to support my deployment, as were colleagues. We worked together to produce a plan whereby all elements of my work was being covered by other members of the team. Their support was essential and something I highly valued and appreciated.

Lots of people are commending your decision to go to Sierra Leone Maggie, but the audience would like to know how you made the decision to go?

Lt Col Maggie Durrant responds:

In late September, I’d had the benefit of a brief walk-through of the facsimile facility that had been erected in the Army Medical Services Training Centre, in which the macro simulation collective training exercise would be conducted as part of the pre-deployment training preparation for 22 Field Hospital personnel who were deploying in October.

Like many others, I’d been aware of the deteriorating situation in West Africa and felt a desire to assist, if called upon. So when, in early October, telephone call trawls were made to 2nd Medical Brigade reservists, scoping readiness and willingness to deploy on this mission, if required, I responded positively.

How did your family respond? 

Lt Col Maggie Durrant responds:

I’m fortunate to have a very supportive husband, and teenage children who understand how seriously I take my reservist commitment, and by talking this situation through they were able to accept my decision to support this deployment. Being able to give them sufficient reassurance that we would be appropriately prepared and risks mitigated as far as possible, knowing how rigorous the pre-deployment training would be, helped allay some of their worries and instead focus on how we could make a difference to the people of Sierra Leone.

And what procedures did you need to follow on your return?

Lt Col Maggie Durrant responds:

We were monitored for a 21 day period by Public Health England/Wales, with daily health questions and twice daily temperature checks undertaken by our allocated health professional. We were allowed home but with clear advice on amount and type of contact we could have with others, and some public places/health facilities to avoid. The restrictions weren't onerous but sufficiently robust to feel we were not putting anyone, particularly our families, at risk.

The meticulous hand-hygiene we'd been used to whilst away, albeit without using chlorine, was the most important single measure needed. But it still took quite a while, certainly more than 21 days, before I'd shake anyone by the hand!

Are the open days in York restricted to reservists only?

Major Dave Stone responds:

No they are open to employers, tutors as well as those civilians interested in possibly joining the Army Medical Reserve Forces. Next dates are 29 - 30 June 2016 and 22 - 23 October 2016.

I’m not an athlete, can I still take part?

Major Dave Stone responds:

You don’t have to be an athlete but you will need to be healthy enough to pass the entry standards for fitness and not have certain medical conditions (such as diabetes).  The fitness standards vary with age/gender but generally you will need to be able to run 1.5 miles in less than 14 minutes; details of entry fitness standards can be found on the Army website. Also on this page is a free fitness app designed to prepare people for the entry standard of fitness. Alternatively, questions about joining the Army Reserves can be made to 0345 6008080.

The NHS doesn’t have a facility like that in York and our budgets are under more pressure than ever. How do you think we can improve our training locally?

Major Dave Stone responds:

Collective (team) training really does sharpen up the delivery of effective healthcare. Obviously everyone is very busy and senior people particularly find it difficult to find time or engage in refresher/new process training.  With this in mind, a collective training period should be organised well in advance to allow everyone to block-out diaries. The training should be focused on the most likely scenarios that the team might face as well as the most demanding, but should always follow the ‘crawl, walk, run’ principle that Lt Col Chris Gibson described in the webinar. There should be some form of accreditation/CPD element so those attending feel they have attended something that can have professional utility after the event.

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