Out of Programme Experience
Many trainees opt to spend time in a developing country as out of programme experience, either as Out of Programme Clinical Experience (OOPE), which is not recognised for training, or Out of Programme Experience for Training (OOPT), which may be counted towards training provided certain conditions are met.
The benefits include learning how to deliver safe anaesthesia in a resource poor environment, often to patients with advanced pathology. Much of the clinical workload relates to obstetrics, paediatrics and trauma and it is essential that trainees have the relevant experience in these areas (ideally ST year 6). Trainees will also have an opportunity to develop their communication and team working skills and to teach and learn from healthcare professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds. If well planned and executed, out of programme experience in a developing country is of enormous benefit to the receiving hospital as well as to the individual involved.
Dr Jo James, the Bernard Johnson Advisor for the International Programmes, has developed a curriculum for trainees working in developing countries on behalf of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières.
The AAGBI strongly urges trainees to follow the principles of the RCoA training curriculum. This will result in a more productive experience, less risk to vulnerable patients and prevent you going to a post that is unsuitable.
Useful publications and articles
- Full details on out of programme experience in developing countries can be obtained from the RCoA ‘Unit of Training for Working in a Developing Country’ and Annex D CCT in Anaesthetics - Higher Level Training.
- The GAT Handbook ‘Organising a Year Abroad – Out of programme advice from the GAT committee’ offers very useful advice to those wishing to work in a developing country
- The Anaesthesia supplement ‘Anaesthesia in Developing Countries’ contains a wealth of useful background information
- The BMJ have pubished a useful article 'Preparing young travellers for low resource destinations'. BMA members and NHS employees (through ATHENS) can access the full article.