National charity The Hospital Saturday Fund has donated £10,000 to the Peninsula Medical Foundation to help fund student electives at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD).
As part of their studies, students have to complete an eight-week elective to explore areas of medicine or research that interest them, in greater depth. They can do this in a developed country or they may travel abroad to experience alternative forms of medicine and explore diverse cultural attitudes and health beliefs in almost any part of the world. Some decide to stay in the UK for all or part of their elective – it is entirely up to them.
Placements can be very diverse. For example in the UK, one student worked with care leavers affected by criminal behaviour and addiction in hostels/clinics, GP clinics in refugee centres, GP and Mental Health team visits to Dartmoor Prison and also went to London to experience similar situations and medical work with sex workers.
Another worked with the London Air Ambulance and Emergency Department of Royal London Hospital and compared this with the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, which provides 24-hour pre-hospital emergency medical care to the 2.85 million residents of Essex and Hertfordshire.
Overseas placements have included working in maternity clinics, contraceptive and sexual health clinics in Madagascar and a district hospital in Ghana, dealing with paediatrics and outreach projects.
The presentation of the funding was made by John Greenwood, who is chair of The Hospital Saturday Fund. The charity supports individuals with a medical condition for specialist equipment or treatment, and registered health charities in need of grants for medical projects, care, research or medical training.
The funding was donated to the Peninsula Medical Foundation, a local charity which supports medical training, student bursaries and research projects at PUPSMD.
Mr. Greenwood visited the organisation where he saw at first hand its clinical skills facilities and laboratories, and learned about vital links with Derriford Hospital and the University’s plans to build a new, state-of-the-art £14 million research facility adjacent to the current PUPSMD headquarters on Plymouth Science Park.
Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean at PUPSMD, commented:
“We were delighted to welcome John Greenwood from The Hospital Saturday Fund to see our facilities and meet key members of staff, as well as a student who has experienced an elective. We are grateful to him and his colleagues for this donation. Investment such as this from the charitable sector is important for us, because it helps us to develop our organisation, produce first-class medics of the future and support research in key areas.”