Dr Pradeep Ratnasekare, Consultant in Medical Administration and Healthcare Management, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, recently spent time at the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition as an Honorary Visiting Fellow. Here he reflects on his experience of living and working in Aberdeen.
"I am a medical doctor and a senior health system manager from Sri Lanka. As a part of my post MD exposure in the field of Medical Administration and Healthcare Management, which is a mandatory prerequisite of medical postgraduate training in Sri Lanka, I opted to join the University of Aberdeen (UoA) with an intention of getting an exposure to the resource-rich teaching base, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. As a Sri Lankan medical professional, I was aware of the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee which are renowned for their Royal Colleges from which many prestigious Sri Lankan clinicians have earned their postgraduate qualifications in the past. But even before arriving in the UK, I became fascinated in getting an exposure in the Medical school of the UoA which excelled in the ranking as the first in the Scotland and the fourth in the UK.
"During my short stay in Aberdeen, I was given the opportunity to meet many leading clinicians and key role players of senior management of the UoA, NHS Grampian (NHSG) and the three teaching hospitals. During the discussions with them, I was given an insight into their service mandate, challenges and innovative work while able to share how the similar services operate back in Sri Lanka. I was invited to observe many high-end managerial meetings of both UoA and the NHSG. The experience is quite important for me to learn how the health system and medical education in Scotland work and to compare it with those of England and Sri Lanka. Further, the learning experience benefited me in comparing the challenges encountered by the healthcare managers in different countries, to study the way they tackle those in different healthcare contexts and to evaluate how the strategies used in a developed country could be adopted to suit Sri Lankan settings.
"During my attachment, I was given opportunity to work with the Director to the Acute Services of the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on a Health System redesign project which I engaged in with great interest. I closely followed the risk management system of the NHSG during this period. I was invited to observe the medical education and the examination process in the school of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition of the University of Aberdeen which I enjoyed more than learning.
"Apart from the academic activities, I was offered a tour of Aberdeenshire which I enjoyed very much. I was given an office in the 3rd floor of the Polwarth Building of the Foresterhill Campus with IT access and found a friendly and supportive staff to work with. I was warmly welcomed for all major social events of the University as a special guest.
"Overall, my experience in Aberdeen provided an invaluable opportunity for me to learn by observing in a wider spectrum, from how to conduct a meeting efficiently to how the modern technology could be used in healthcare delivery to improve efficiency and to reduce cost. The exposure opened up for me by the UoA was enormous and will be quite helpful in my future endeavours when I resume my work as a senior health system manager back in Sri Lanka. It is with great confidence and pleasure that I recommend the UoA for those who look for medical undergraduate and post graduate studies, a University with a rich teaching base, backed by a professionally qualified and experienced staff and with ultra-modern technology."