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UK-Iraq health consultation

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Meg Munn MP recently took part in a conference organised by the Health Attaché at the Iraqi Embassy in the UK. The conference brought together senior consultants and health experts from the UK and Iraqi Ministry of Health to explore opportunities for collaboration. Iraq’s health service needs considerable investment and an increase in the capacity of medical and nursing personal.

Meg spoke about her work with Sheffield Hallam University over the last two years to support their UK Iraqi health partnership. Since 2012 the University has welcomed 139 Iraqi healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, physicists, dentists and pharmacists. They studied British healthcare, gaining hands-on experience in areas such as oncology, radiotherapy and cardiology and developed project ideas to take back to work on in Iraq.

The five-year project will see more than 400 Iraqi healthcare staff stay in the city. The feedback from the students has been extremely positive. Meg described meeting some of them following completion of their course to hear about the projects they intended to implement on their return. These included infection control policies, improving patient safety with better documentation of medications and developing multi -disciplinary teams in mental health services.

Meg also spoke of key issues that Sheffield Hallam University have needed to address to develop a successful partnership. This has included a clear vision, starting small and having dedicated teams in Iraq and Sheffield who speak regularly to identify difficulties. The need to ensure that students have adequate English and proper procedures for visas has also been vital.

Meg said:

“There is a real interest in developing more partnerships between Iraq and the UK. The NHS has long benefited from the skill and dedication of many Iraqi born doctors. Some are now returning to Iraq, with British born colleagues, to see how they can help the country overcome the problems created by conflict and dictatorship and build a better health service.”

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