George Eliot hospital hosts visit from health service in Nicaragua

NSCAG News | on: Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Nicaragua Visit June 2016

Photo: Maria Nela centre on the exercise bike, Michelle Norton, Director of Nursing on the right and Louise Richards, NSCAG on the left. Photo courtesy of George Eliot Hospital.

George Eliot Hospital welcomed a visitor from Nicaragua last month as part of an ongoing twinning partnership with the Central American Country.

Maria Nela Gaitan, who is a physiotherapist at the Roberto Herrera Health Centre in the capital Managua visited the George Eliot to share information and learn about health care in the UK. Maria Nela also teaches physiotherapy at the University in Managua and is also a branch secretary of the health union FETSALUD.

During her visit she met some of the physiotherapy team at the hospital, seeing the wide range of physiotherapy facilities and equipment available to patients at the George Eliot. Maria Nela spent a busy afternoon touring the hospital with Nurse Practitioner Wendy Preston and visiting the Maternity Unit where she met Antenatal Clinic Manager, Victoria Jones. She was also welcomed to the hospital by Director of Nursing Michelle Norton.

Wendy Preston said: “It was a pleasure to show Maria Nela around the George Eliot and be able to share differences in health care between the two countries.”

Maria Nela said: “I welcomed the opportunity to exchange information and experiences with colleagues at the George Eliot and was very impressed by the facilities at the hospital.

“Many of Nicaragua’s hospitals have only very basic equipment and it was a real eye opener to see the amount of equipment in the physiotherapy gymnasium at the hospital. At home we cover all aspects of physiotherapy and it was interesting to meet others who specialised in specific areas.

“I hope that the contacts made through the twinning, and the support offered, will continue with the George Eliot Hospital and very much welcome future delegations to Nicaragua.”

The twinning framework was originally signed in 2015 between the George Eliot Hospital and Nilda Patricia Hospital in Cuidad-Sandino, Managua. This agreement was organised by Unison trade union representatives from the George Eliot Hospital and FETSALUD Union in Nicaragua. The relationship aims to learn together, share expertise and improve the quality of health services for patients and staff through sharing knowledge.

Representatives from both countries visited each other last year to learn from each other and identify future learning opportunities. The visit from representatives from the George Eliot Hospital was totally funded by Unison.

Unison Representative Dawn Downes said: “During this visit we had an opportunity to discuss workforce wellbeing and equality policies and found both differences and commonalities between our two countries.

“We were surprised that Maria Nela didn’t seem to be concerned about equalities issues. She was surprised by the question, as it just isn’t something that arises in Nicaragua and they don’t see it as an issue.”

“Maria Nela also said that the role of the family is central to the wellbeing of local communities and that they have an important role to share health advice.”

Unison is currently developing a project about bullying in the workplace and the community and plans to work closely with the partnership with Nicaragua to share knowledge between the two countries.

The George Eliot Hospital is also planning other ways that they can swap ideas between the two countries in the future to improve health services

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