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NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Clinical Development Fellows have developed a successful community outreach programme over the last two years. This work supports the ten year strategic ambition of the Board through the Caring for Ayrshire programme and aligns with our Social Impact Pledge. In essence, it is about trying to establish greater connections with our communities.

The Clinical Development Fellow (CDF) programme aims to improve working conditions and staffing levels in hospitals. The group currently consists of 60 doctors, who allocate time within their work plan to contribute to quality improvement, education, research and development.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, Medical Director, explains: “Community outreach forms part of our social impact pledge and looks to increase the positive impact of the health board within the local community through maximising the assets of the workforce. The Social Impact Pledge is a Scottish Government initiative aimed at increasing the social impact of public sector organisations across Scotland and we have given a commitment to do this.”

Working with head-teachers from the three local authorities, the CDFs arranged visits and activities, which focussed on health and wellbeing, sports and careers.

‘Mr Ted’s hospital’ allowed primary school pupils to dress up and help Mr Ted on his road to recovery, all while learning important aspect of care.

Career events gave students the chance to talk to staff from a number of different branches of the NHS. Through the NHS Ayrshire & Arran Mentorship programme, the CDFs were able to offer those secondary school students interested a range of careers across health and social care work experience and application support.

As well as the health and wellbeing based programmes, CDFs joined forces with Medics Against Violence (MAV), a charity aimed at reducing violent injury and changing attitudes to violence amongst the youth of Scotland, with 18 doctors trained as MAV facilitators.

Promoting exercise was another key aspect of the pledge and this was done by supporting local sporting events. The CDFs covered Ayrshire based rugby matches and conducted a NHS takeover of a local parkrun, raising money for Crosshouse Children’s Charity.

Dr McGuffie commented: “This work has been a great example of collaboration between health and care, education, sport and leisure, criminal justice and wider communities. It is about connecting with communities and this ambition lies at the heart of Caring for Ayrshire.

“Mentoring students and widening the understanding of the many roles available within health and care has been a fantastic initiative. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be too long until we are able to recruit a talented young individual who has been inspired by the work of the fellows.”

Vicki Robertson and Catherine Russell, the Senior Development Fellows who led the programme over the last year, have been instrumental in its success. They added: “In total, we have reached more than 1,000 pupils with our schools programme and 455 pupils as part of the Medics Against Violence Programme. With sessions for both primary and secondary pupils on mental health, healthy diet, sleep and exercise, as well as an introduction to the many career paths in the NHS, we hope to inspire future generations to not only live a healthier life, but to become the health and social care staff of the future. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our colleagues across the many branches of NHS Ayrshire & Arran for supporting us and to all the schools who have contacted us to take part in our community outreach programme.”

If you think the Clinical Development Fellows could support your school or sporting event, please contact [email protected]

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