Hospital staff swap jobs with French counterparts

UK hospital staff are swapping jobs with their French counterparts as part
of an experiment to help healthcare professionals from different sides of the
Channel learn from each other.

Under the scheme, Kent-based doctors, nurses and other health professionals
will spend time at the Catholic University of Lille and St Philibert Hospital.

Activities covered in the £1m project will range from specialist work
placements to intensive multi-disciplinary programmes.

Their French colleagues will observe practices at the University of
Greenwich at Medway, which is spearheading the initiative, and at the Dartford
and Gravesham NHS Trust in Kent.

Jenny Kay, director of nursing at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, said she
was delighted by the enthusiasm shown by the staff for this "very positive

"We hope staff from both sides will bring back new ideas, but at the
same time be reassured of their own practices," she said. "There will
be a forward evaluation process to make sure all the information gained will
not disappear into the ether."

Maureen Mounty, head of the department for health development in the School
of Health and Social Care at the university, said the initiative was made
possible by the Eurostar and improvements in communication through e-mail,
webcams and online education.

"What we have to offer each other is endless. We are overworked and
underpaid compared to the French, and they have beautiful, clean hospitals
which are being under-used.

"But we have a system to be proud of," she added. "The French
are amazed how organised we are and how well we work under pressure – it’s a
big psychological boost".

By Michael Millar

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