GPs in UK Ebola team hail 'first-class training'

Two GPs treating Ebola victims in west Africa have backed the high quality of training they received and spoken of their determination to help bring the epidemic under control.

Ebola training: GPs helping fight epidemic (Photo: DFID)
Ebola training: GPs helping fight epidemic (Photo: DFID)

The doctors were among the first team of NHS volunteers who left for Sierra Leone in November, after receiving intensive training at a special Ministry of Defence unit in York.

As well as GPs, the team included nurses, hospital consultants and psychiatrists, and further batches of volunteers are already undergoing the first phase of their training.

Once this team reached Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, they were given further training before moving to one of the British-built Ebola treatment centres in Sierra Leone.

First-class training

A partner at the Birley Health Centre in Sheffield, Dr Charles Heatley, said he felt as confident about travelling to west Africa as anyone could expect to be.

‘The training has been first class, we all feel we can protect ourselves from infection with Ebola as along as we follow the instructions received,’ he said.

‘We have also had training to prepare ourselves emotionally, and the feeling in the group is very positive and very strong.

‘My approach is that this is a secondment, not a voluntary placement. If we can support more patients through their illness we will have made a step towards bringing the epidemic under control more quickly.’

Superb medical education

GP registrar at the Eastham Group Pracice on the Wirral, Dr Mark Willcox, said he had received a superb medical education and wanted to give something back.

We have received superb training by the UK military who really should be recognised for their outstanding efforts in this crisis,’ he said.

‘I think everyone has thought about this nasty disease but our training gives us enormous confidence that we will be able to help with minimised risk.’ 

The other GPs in the first Ebola team were: Dr Chris Mair from the Creich Surgery in Sutherland; Dr Dominic Waddington a GP trainee at Devon Doctors in Exeter; Dr Gordon Ganzc, from the King Edward Street Surgery in Oxford; and Dr Caroline Holms from the Midlock Medical Centre in Glasgow.

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