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Global health and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine: a cross-sectional survey of members and fellows


Background There is growing interest in global health participation among emergency care doctors in the UK. The aim of this paper was to describe the demographics of members and fellows of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine involved in global health, the work they are involved in, as well as the benefits and barriers of this work.

Methods We conducted a survey to include members and fellows of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine describing the context of their global health work, funding arrangements for global health work and perceived barriers to, and benefits of, global health work.

Results The survey collected 1134 responses of which 439 (38.7%) were excluded. The analysis was performed with the remaining 695 (61.3%) responses. Global health involvement concentrated around South Asia and Africa. Work contexts were mainly direct clinical service (267, 38%), curriculum development (203, 29%) and teaching short courses (198, 28%). Activity was largely self-funded, both international (539, 78%) and from UK (516, 74%). Global health work was not reported to contribute to appraisal by many participants (294, 42.3%). Funding (443, 64%) and protected time (431, 62%) were reported as key barriers to global health productivity.

Discussion Participants largely targeted specialty development and educational activities. Lack of training, funding and supported time were identified as barriers to development. Galvanising support for global health through regional networks and College support for attracting funding and job plan recognition will help UK-based emergency care clinicians contribute more productively to this field.

  • communications
  • education
  • emergency care systems
  • global health

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