Doctors and hospitals in Sussex urged to form links with clinics in Africa to support The Virtual Doctors charity

Hospital teams and GP surgeries in Sussex are being asked to link with clinics in Africa as part of The Virtual Doctors’ clinic twinning scheme.

The aim is to encourage medical teams and their patients in the UK to get together to raise funds in a variety of ways over time to help fund the charity’s telemedicine service.

Some of the Zambian villagers and a clinician working with The Virtual Doctors

Some of the Zambian villagers and a clinician working with The Virtual Doctors

The Virtual Doctors has a small office base in Shoreham but most of those who help the charity are remotely working and looking for clinics around the country to show their support.

Dr Fran Fieldhouse, one of the volunteer doctors, based in Oxford, came up with the new initiative to twin clinics in the UK with isolated clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa.

She said: “We hope this scheme will appeal to you. It is incredibly simple to get involved and it will be fun, too.

“As well as helping transform lives in Africa, you will reap other benefits. It may help to encourage collaborative working, offer a new dimension of working together to motivate your team and may even offer engagement opportunities with your patients.

“One thousand pounds could help fund the cost of setting up the service and provide ongoing support in a new clinic in rural Africa.

“You will be provided with a start-up pack full of information, materials and ideas and after you have reached your target, you will receive a special thank you photo of your twinned clinic and we will ensure you stay connected and learn about the impact you have made.”

The appeal has gone out to doctors, outpatient departments and hospital wards.

The Virtual Doctors charity works to improve health access in isolated regions of Africa. Many people there are unable to get expert medical advice due to the lack of doctors and vast distances to travel to see them.

Using a clinical app, the telemedicine service connects isolated health centres with volunteer doctors, mostly UK based. This gives access to more than 20 specialist areas of medicine.

Since it launched more than ten years ago, the service has been transformative for patients and helping to save lives, thanks to the generosity of doctors in the UK who volunteer their time and expertise.

For further information on The Virtual Doctors charity and the twinning scheme, email enquiries@virtualdoctors.org, visit www.virtualdoctors.org/clinictwinning or call 01273 454755.

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