Emergency Medicine & Medical Education in Hong Kong

What an amazing experience! With 4 colleagues from the centre for medical education I was lucky enough to be asked to go to Hong Kong to speak at their first medical education conference. We were all knackered after an outrageously long flight but had 24 hrs in HK to experience the amazing city, see the sights, including the star ferry and laser show, shop (of course!) in the night market, visit the beach at Stanley and eat dim sum. On the second day I visited the ED at Queen Elizabeth hospital and gave a talk on the Edinburgh EDvolution. They were particularly interested to hear about our developments with social media and education, especially medical students. It was great to see Colin Graham who was flying home that night to stay for 1 night then fly back! They have much of the same issues as us with access block and an increasing elderly population with complex medical and social needs. Crime is rare, drugs (except ketamine) are non existent, so they were amazed to hear about all our problems with legal high use. Trauma mainly comes in the firm of RTAs and industrial accidents. Currently they are in the midst of a flu crisis which is overwhelming their EDs, actually since SARS everyone is expected to wear a mask at all times when on shift, so I must stop grumping about not being able to wear a stethoscope any more. We visited the new simulation suite at the academy of medicine where they focus on disaster training and have a 360 IMAX cinema to simulate pre-hospital scenes and a surround-vision room to simulate a press conference. 

After a trip to the coast to a favourite sea food restaurant where there are hundreds of tanks of live sea food and you pick what you want, they took us for some (intersting) Chinese desserts. Then all 5 of us had 2 days of plenary presentations and workshops at the conference at the academy. Despite this being their first medical education event there were some great discussions and really interesting presentations from the local team on topics such as the flipped classroom, inter professional learning and clinical clerkships. The Edinburgh team did the uni proud and gave a number of outstanding talks on teaching professionalism, clinical skills, simulation and showcasing both the MSc and clinical educator programmes.

The faculty gave us an excellent dinner in the Academy, where they do fusion cooking, I ended up sitting between the lovely president of the academy and president of the college of surgeons, terrified I was either going to spill my wine, or ping my chop sticked food across the table, one of which happened (although discreetly). Interestingly whenever you asked anyone if they had been to Edinburgh you would generally find they did a bit of their training here or their kids are at Fettes/ Edinburgh uni.

So after 5 days, 2 long haul flights 8 lectures, 3 workshops, 36 chop sticks episodes, 3 hrs sleep per night and buying 39 fake goods :-) I am left feeling so grateful that we had the chance to have had such an amazing insight into EM in a completely different culture, but more so blown away by the complete friendliness of the people, the vibrancy of the city and the amazing welcome that we received...we really feel that we made some awesome new friends for life in HK and are really looking forward to working together and building on the ED/ med ed collaborative.

Dr Janet Skinner