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‘Vibrant and supportive’ - new placements for international students announced

Poole Hospital has launched a new partnership with a local GP practice that will see more international students studying in the town.

From August, the trust will be coordinating a number of new placements for students, from as far afield as Africa and the Caribbean, at The Adam Practice.

The Adam Practice is one of the largest GP practices on the south coast with four surgeries and services for more than 31,000 patients.

The announcement comes after the hospital was described by students as a ‘vibrant, supportive learning environment’ where their needs are ‘carefully maintained and supported’.

The comments were made during an official training visit earlier this year by the Winchester Deanery, which is responsible for postgraduate medical training in the Wessex region. The organisation was supportive of the international student programme, its training environment and the commitment of trainers.

International students undertake a range of specialties in various areas across the hospital and student weeks (the way the length of placements are calculated) have risen from 232 in 2015 to 634 in 2017 – an almost threefold increase.

This is the second highest number of international student weeks of any hospital nationwide and in 2018 the figure has already exceeded 300.

The placements are part of a link with St George’s University Medical School (SGU), Grenada, that has been active for the last 20 years.

SGU is the third largest medical school in the world and provides medical training primarily for international students from countries such as the USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Botswana, Nigeria and Kenya, as well as the UK. SGU has more than 16,000 graduates that practice in more than 50 countries across the world. It is the fourth highest provider of doctors in the USA and 20 per cent of all the doctors in Trinidad and Tobago and Botswana are provided by the school.

Poole Hospital is one of only 14 centres in the UK, and one of three trusts in Wessex, that offers training for students from SGU.

The programme brings in significant funding for departments to support a number of developments including the refurbishment of the hospital’s education centre, the construction of a new training facility in the maternity unit and the ability to live stream from operating theatres to the lecture theatre.

Tolonki Ishmael Kono is a 25-year-old fourth-year medical student originally from Botswana. “I consider it a privilege to have been given the opportunity to do my placement at Poole,” he said.

“I have heard from my previous seniors who took their placement here that it is one of the best hospitals to acquire clinical experience.

“It has been a great experience for me, both academically and socially. The love, care and professionalism from the teaching faculty and nursing staff is unbelievable.”

Anna T. Ramgulam is a 29-year-old third-year medical student from Trinidad and Tobago. “I consider myself very fortunate to have been granted the opportunity to do my clinical placement at Poole Hospital,” she said.

“It has been an enjoyable learning experience and I have been able to work with some amazing doctors and nurses.

“The people here are so friendly and make me feel welcome. It’s definitely a home away from home.”

Both Tolonki and Anna wish to return to their native countries after their studies to offer and apply their skills and services.

Dr Simon Crowther, director of medical education for the hospital and SGU, negotiated the placements. “This is a fantastic development for us and not only is this an exciting new venture with primary care, the international student scheme promotes the trust and raises our profile nationally and internationally,” he said.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to all the dedicated staff and trainers involved.”

new placements for international students

(L-R) Julie Mantell, medical education, business and centre manager, Tolonki Kono, Dr Simon Crowther, Anna T Ramgulam and Karin Bauser, senior education administrator and foundation programme coordinator

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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