College of Physicians and Surgeons to establish centre to train experts in basic life support

The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) is to establish a centre in the country for the training of experts in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

The Rector of the GCPS, Prof. Jacob Plange-Rhule, who announced the project at this year’s Medical Knowledge Fiesta, said currently the only training centre for BLS and ACLS was in South Africa.

“If we are able to establish it, it will be a good way of attracting our colleagues from the sub-region to the college,” he said.

While BLS is a level of medical care which is used for victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital, ACLS refers to a set of clinical interventions for the urgent treatment of cardiac arrest, stroke and other life-threatening medical emergencies, as well as the knowledge and skills to deploy those interventions.

Prof. Plange-Rhule said as part of efforts at decentralising its training, the college had started a modular membership programme in Family Medicine to be situated in the districts.

“Instead of moving district doctors to the teaching centres for three years, we are bringing the training to them. This programme takes off this year,” he said.

Medical Knowledge Fiesta 

The Medical Knowledge Fiesta seeks to strengthen the scientific base of medical practitioners in the country and provides a platform for continuous education and knowledge sharing between medical doctors in the Diaspora and their counterparts in Ghana.

The event, organised by the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America, in collaboration with the GCPS and Africa Partners Medical, is on the theme: “A competent physician: Key to a healthy nation”.

Communicate with patients 

Speaking on the theme, an Associate Professor of Paediatrics of the University of Windsor in Canada, Prof. Mark Awuku, challenged doctors to improve communication with their patients because it was one of seven competency skills that were essential to healthcare service.

“As communicators, we physicians form relationships with patients and their families that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care. More important, a physician’s good communication skills can improve health outcomes for patients,” he observed.

He said studies had shown that  69 per cent of doctors interrupted patients before the patients were even able to state why they were in hospital.

The studies also found that 77 per cent of patients never got the chance to tell their doctors the reason they were in hospital.

“With this, I wonder how we are able to offer treatment to patients if we do not listen and get the whole picture for the visit,” he said.

The pediatrician with more than 30 years’ experience observed that more and more people resorted to religious leaders because they (religious leaders) listened to their plight.

He discredited the notion that receiving medical training, passing examination and being licensed made medical practitioners competent and insisted that other non-medical roles, including collaboration, leadership, advocacy, scholarship and professionalism, added up and resulted in full competency.

Testing doctors’ competence 

A former council member of the GCPS, Prof. Yao Tettey, made a case for the need to test the competence level of doctors before their licences were renewed.

“A number of years were required before doctors could renew their licences, so competence must be added to the necessary requirements, beginning from next year,” he proposed.



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