Working at Bupa over the summer of 2012 as its first intern in a scheme for medical students gave Agneish Dutta a unique insight into the world of occupational health and the workings of a private health provider.
I was most pleased to hear last summer that I had been accepted onto Bupa’s summer internship scheme for medical students, and equally daunted to learn that I would be the first.
My month-long internship began at Battle Bridge House in King’s Cross, London, having previously met my clinical supervisors, Dr Wai Keong Wong and Dr Jenny Leeser, at Bupa’s international headquarters in Holborn. I was struck by how friendly and enthusiastic everyone was and I quickly settled in.
I spent my the first two weeks conducting an audit with the aim of improving the way review appointments are made in OH.
Working in this particular department allowed me to understand how rail workers are looked after, the prevalent health issues that affect this group and a whole new side to medicine that I would not have encountered through medical school alone.
I had ample opportunity to sit in on clinics taken by OH technicians, OH nurses and doctors in equal measure. I gained a lot from my time spent talking to staff and their clients, which I am sure will enhance my own development as a healthcare professional.
I highly recommend that medical students apply for an internship – I found it a worthwhile and rewarding experience.”
The audit I conducted was an interesting insight into how the provider side of the OH system works and how practice is continually monitored to keep it efficient and cost effective.
I was guided by Leeser through my tasks with prompt feedback and was encouraged to write up my findings and procedures, which I would later present at a clinical governance meeting.
Throughout my time on the internship I was able to be present at these meetings, which revealed to me the commercial side of healthcare provision.
I began to realise the challenges of running a private healthcare company – albeit one that does not have shareholders – which, in turn, put into context the financial issues the NHS is now facing.
It was a unique opportunity for me to hear from the heads of different branches of the company and read the financial reports.
Towards the end of my short time at Bupa, I visited its centres around the country, including the impressive modern centre in Staines, Surrey, where I was privileged to sit in on some very intriguing work.
Another trip took me to Manchester, specifically Salford Quays, where Bupa runs its remote health/OH/case management service. There, I listened to past phone calls and was learned about how the department works. It gave me a better understanding of how healthcare is evolving – a cost-effective service, and one I’m sure we will see increasing in use in all major healthcare services.
Throughout my time on the internship, I was provided with help whenever it was required. There was a good balance of using initiative for self-learning and being taught new skills. I made friends and useful contacts in my time with Bupa.
I feel lucky to have had the opportunity and miss it now that I have returned to medical school. I highly recommend that medical students apply for an internship – I found it a worthwhile and rewarding experience.
Agneish Dutta is a medical student and researcher at Imperial College London. He undertook his internship at Bupa in 2012, during his fifth year as a student.