The challenges of providing anaesthetic services in a small rural general hospital
15 Nov 2022
ACC Theatre B
Belford Hospital in the Scottish Highlands is a small, 43-bedded rural general hospital. There is no ICU, but a 2-bedded HDU. The anaesthetic department consists of 4 consultants, there are no anaesthetic trainees or middle grades. Despite its small size this hospital gets very busy - it covers a large area with the nearest DGH being 1.5 hours away in Inverness. Fort William is the "outdoor capital of the UK" and we have our fair share of trauma. The challenge for the anaesthetic department is not only to cover the on call, but also to staff a theatre list 4 days a week without having the luxury of delegating to less senior anaesthetic colleagues. The fact that the anaesthetic department is the only department that is fully staffed with substantive consultants shows that we must be doing something right! Working a 1 in 4 on call rota is the price we pay for living in an area of outstanding natural beauty and being part of a brilliant team of like minded professionals. I would like to demonstrate in this talk that a 1 in 4 rota is not as horrible as it sounds and that despite Covid 19 taking its toll we are a very happy and content department. It's a far cry from your typical big teaching hospital, but with careful planning and a lot of flexibility we make it work very well.