Policies influencing the release of staff to work abroad
In addition to any policy that a Trust may have, the ability of employers to release staff to work abroad is influenced by such things as the ability to provide staff cover whilst an individual is away, the support of Training Programme Director and College Adviser and the attitude of the organisation to work abroad. Planning for work abroad may need to be started many months before it happens.
Working abroad completely in one's own time
Many, or perhaps most, NHS staff who spend time working in or for a developing country do so in their own time. Local NHS policies are not relevant under these circumstances. Individuals may, however, find it useful to look at the Framework for NHS Involvement in International Development to see how their work compares against the recommendations in that document.
Working abroad in a way which requires the agreement of an employer
Where someone wants to spend more time abroad and they need the organisation they work for to agree to flexibility around time away from work, then it will depend on the policies of their employer. Some employers see the experience of working in a resource poor setting as valuable to staff and to their organisation e.g. refreshing staff enthusiasm for work and bringing back ideas for using scarce resources more efficiently.
Employers that are less keen on supporting staff in this way may find it useful to see the Framework for NHS Involvement in International Development.
Using Existing Links to work abroad
Several Trusts in Wessex have established Links with organisations in developing countries. These Links represent valuable opportunities for individuals to spend some time working abroad as, by definition, the policy of the Trust is to support this work
Working abroad whilst in training
Experience abroad for those in training grades can be very valuable and this is recognised in the recent "Academy Statement on Volunteering" published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in March 2013. Some Royal Colleges have well developed international support activities and a few have recognised some places abroad that can be recognised as part of training.
To find out more about practicalities of working abroad whilst in training, visit the Training Grades section of this website.
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Improving Global Health through Leadership Development
The Improving Global Health through Leadership Development programme was introduced for local staff in 2008 by the South Central Strategic Health Authority for local staff. With the re-organisation of the NHS the Wessex Leadership Academy was created and has run the programme since the beginning of April, 2013. .
The programme clearly recognises the development value to staff and the NHS of work in resource poor settings using service improvement techniques and with mentoring support. As the content of the the work is determined by the host partner, a contributiong is made to an ongoing planned development within the country visited.
Links have been established with Cambodia, South Africa and Zambia. A recent grant has enabled the scheme to take applications from NHS staff from all over England.
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Standards for Links and Kitemarking of Placements for Trainees
Standards for Links
There is considerable variety in the type of work carried out abroad, particularly, for example, in its type, quality, sustainablity, supervision availailable. The most important guidance for Links is the Framework for NHS Involvement in International Development.
Proposals for Kitemarking for placements abroad were put together in 2010 by the Deanery to provide guidance for
- people setting up placements abroad
- trainees considering a placement abroad
It represents good practice and reflects the guidance contained in the document "NHS Framework for Involvement in International Development". Whilst not formal Wessex Deanery policy, it provides useful pointers to issues that need to be covered when setting up a placement.
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