Aims There 17 trusts spread over the regional neonatal network which is roughly 109 × 103 miles in geographical dimension. Road networks and public transport links across this region are somewhat limited. This results in long travelling times between units. We identified long travel times as a major reason limiting attendance at training events. Gaps in rotas compound this as trainees could not be “released” early enough to make the events on time. Travel costs were also not insignificant. Therefore theSchool ofPaediatrics and neonatal network developed an e-learning initiative -Video linked Neonatal Training Meetings’ to try to overcome these difficulties and enhance neonatal training.
Methods A core team of 3 junior doctors and 2 consultants were responsible for establishing the educational programme. The aim was to deliver evidence based learning on neonatal hot topics and share experience between the Level III and the other units across the network where training opportunities were sometimes more limited. Trusts have access to video-conferencing facilities which are widely used in other speciality networks. Media Facility Services were involved initially in the 3 neonatal tertiary centres and then in DGH hospitals. Media facility was booked for the whole year.
Results The first session was launched successfully in Feb 2012. There were 35 participants from 6 different trusts via video link facility. The event became more popular and as teething problems were ironed out and secure network bridges established with in 3 months the number of participants had doubled with 70 participants from 8 units. Topics covered included: ventilation, cooling; neuro-developmental outcome and ethical cases.
Conclusion Our experience shows that setting up Virtual Video linked Neonatal Training Days is not difficult. Such training is the way forward, achieving meaningful learning without compromising patient care in an environmentally friendly way. We required the expertise of media facility services and a local lead to ensure that the bridge was established in advance of the meeting. There needs to be a single chairperson who takes responsibility for orchestrating the meeting and maximising input from participating units. This successful regional model could be developed nationally.