In 2017, we have supported four trainees: Abeer (Pathology), Alaa (Paediatric Cardiology), Naji (Gynaecological Oncology), Maha (Haemato-Oncopathology) and Najib (Laparoscopic Gynaecological Surgery). The latter four are part of the Juzoor/Arab Fund Partnership.
Abeer has just passed the final part of the Arab Board exam and will be taking the FRCPath part 2 next year. She plans to return to Gaza after and hopes to use her training to improve services available in Gaza, and teach a new generation of doctors. There are two more trainees arriving next year, Islam (Interventional Radiology) and Mohammad (Respiratory Medicine)
Here, in their own words, are updates from Naji, Maha and Najib on their time in the UK so far.
I came to UCLH six months ago. When I met my supervisor he designed a schedule, to integrate me in the new system.
I work in the labour ward on Mondays, where the protocols and guidelines of the Royal College are strictly followed. What impressed me most is the teamwork in the labour ward. You can sense a rhythm among consultants, registrars and midwives. For the rest of the week, I either cover clinics in urogynaecology and endometriosis or assist in theatres.
UCLH is one of the most prestigious endometriosis centres in the UK. They deal with complicated cases, especially rectovaginal disease. This is expanding my experience in both pelvic anatomy and laparoscopy. The consultants are very keen to teach me and I’m learning something new every day. UCLH is a lovely place to learn.
I’ve been in London a year and a half. When I’ve arrived in London, I wasn’t sure about the level of training I was going to have, but it has more than lived up to my expectations. In the beginning, I struggled adapting to this new system.
My surgical skills have improved greatly. Following up on patients and our weekly MDT, have widened my experience in planning and executing surgery well. My main goal was to improve my laparoscopic surgery skills. After a year, I can perform this type of surgery safely, but I need more experience to be able to do it independently. My time is limited, especially as this is a big and complicated subspecialty, but the team has been friendly and helped my confidence and skill grow.
I hope I’ll be able to achieve what I wanted to when I made the decision to quit my job in Palestine and train in England.
Starting a new life in a different country, a different continent and indeed a different culture is not an easy step, especially when you have a family with you. To settle into a new place, new home and new rules and regulations is a big source of anxiety, but over time you start to relax, which is when I was ready to begin my training.
Becoming a part of the haematology-haematopathology team was peaceful. I was welcomed by the team and introduced to working straightaway. But when you open the door to so much knowledge there can be some storms to face, but luckily I was able to overcome them. Day by day I started to become more familiar with the routine and work. I started to get involved in educational activities. What really helped is that North Bristol NHS Trust is one of the core haematopathology centres in the south of England. I am lucky to be part of their team.
Now after a year, I’m beginning to feel that I’m advancing my skills and helping me lay the foundation for my return to Palestine. My hope is that I will be able to help create a haemato-oncology service in Palestine with up-to-date applications and diagnostic methods.
They say “dream big, work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with good people” and I think that is my secret. Well, it’s not secret anymore!