I was so lucky to be chosen to attend the ENTOG exchange in Poland 2019.
I was based at a hospital in Lublin for 3 days and then travelled to Warsaw for the main congress. I was with trainees from Germany, Norway and the Czech Republic. I arrived at the airport and had to make my own way to the accommodation which made it feel like a real adventure as the travel connections were sparse and I can speak no Polish what so ever!
At the hospital we were able to go into theatre, scan department, ward round and also see their new state of the art medical stimulation centre.
It was very interesting to see the set-up of the wards and what by UK standards would be quite crowded wards. Each patient was examined by the head of department and a decision made as to their care. Poland still has a strong paternalistic approach to health care as opposed to the shared decision making we see in the UK and allowed me to reflect on the pros and cons to paternalistic medicine.
The exchange isn’t only about medicine it’s also about the cultural aspects too. We explored the historic part of the city while our hosts took us out to dinner and even to a roof top bar at another hospital in the city!
We were able to learn about the history of Lublin which culminated in a very moving visit to the concentration camp, Majdanek, which held over 150,000 people during the war. The ability to visit there as part of a group of trainees from all over Europe brought home to me the connections we have forged throughout Europe since the war and how important it is to maintain these links.
After traveling to Warsaw, I was able to meet up with other trainees and partake in the 2-day ENTOG conference and ball. It was great to hear about other trainees’ experiences and where they had been placed and what they had been able to learn. We also got to hear about some of the research being carried out across Europe and the future plans for ENTOG.
It was a brilliant exchange and one I will remember for ever.