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ENTOG meeting report, Estonia 2012

The 22nd European Network of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ENTOG) meeting was held in Tallinn, Estonia. As is customary every other year, this year’s meeting was held in conjunction with the EBCOG Congress.

Tallinn is the capital and the largest city in Estonia. It is also the oldest capital city in northern Europe. It is situated on Estonia’s northern coast, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland and is just 80km from Helsinki.

Tallinn is a culturally diverse city, taking her influences from Finland, Russia and the other Baltic countries. It is one of the most digitally advanced cities in the world and was the European city of culture, together with Turku in Finland in 2011.

The ENTOG educational session took place at the ‘Nokia Concert House’ alongside the EBCOG congress. The programme for the morning was entitled ‘Multidisciplinary teamwork and Bullying’, it proved to be a popular agenda amongst the EBCOG attendees and there was standing room only!

The session was opened by Professor Chiara Benedetto, the president of EBCOG, Dr Karen Rose, the president of ENTOG and Dr Liina Rajasalu the president of the Estonian local organising committee.

We then heard from Psychologist Jaana Liiand, who spoke gave an insightful talk on ‘Dealing with Conflicts and Bullying Among Employees in the Working Environment’. She analysed the psychology behind bullying behaviour and gave practical tips for how best to understand and to tackle bullies in the work place. Interestingly as a way to tackle bullying behaviour in the hospital working environment, the three largest hospitals in Estonia provide mandatory teaching sessions every 2 months provided by Jaana. This approach seems to be useful, providing employees with the necessary tools to tackle this detrimental behaviour without conflict.

I then spoke about the UK experience with bulling and harassment, focus was on how we establish the extent of the problem using the trainees’ survey and the GMC survey data. Then touching on what solutions had been tried so far in the UK and plans for the future. This provoked a helpful discussion about what experiences trainees had had in their own countries and the various ways of tackling it.

Following this we heard from professor Hornes from Denmark about ‘Multidisciplinary Cooperation’ focusing on the importance or a cohesive team in O&G. Finally Dr Karen Rose spoke briefly about how multidisciplinary team training and how it was delivered to trainees in the UK and Netherlands.

Thereafter we broke out into small groups and learnt about trainees’ experiences regarding multidisciplinary training. We explored which countries undertook it, which team members were trained simultaneously, whether or not it was ‘in house’ or in a skills lab. Mandatory skills and drills training and mandatory emergency courses such as ALSO/MOET were explored and practical tips for local organisation of ‘in house’ emergency training locally. Each small group also discussed the problems with bullying in each country and we explored the channels for establishing the extent of the problem and how it is dealt with. The small groups then each fed back to the whole group.

The same afternoon the ENTOG council meeting took place at the ‘Radisson Blu Hotel Olympia’. We heard from three exchanges about their experiences on Tallinn. We heard from trainees,  including Reena Aggarwal our UK exchangee about the differences in Estonian training in comparison to their own. For more information on how it compares to UK training please see Reena’s report.

Overwhelmingly it was felt that the hospitals were modern, well organised and training was well organised. The exchangees were all enthusiastic and satisfied with their experience in the Estonian hospitals. Facilities were similar to those available in the UK but the delivery of training was quite different. Instead of competency based training, Estonian training is based on the number of procedures completed. Training is shorter and focused on acquisition of skills rather than service provision. As a small country the scale of training is quite different to that in the UK, there are only 36 trainees on O&G in Estonia at any one time and they will spend the entire duration of their training in one hospital. There is no shortage of consultant posts, with most trainees being offered substantive posts before qualifying.

The ENTOG president then delivered her annual report as did the treasurer. We learnt how the plans for the future include continued visitations to units wishing to have the training they provide accredited and work towards establishing ENTOG placements within member countries to facilitate the organisation of fellowships where training opportunities differ between countries.

The ENTOG exchange will take place in Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 2013. We heard from the organisers that they hope to accommodate 2-3 trainees from each country. It certainly sounds like an exciting exchange, so for those of you who are interested, watch this space. The ENTOG country representatives then voted on the educational topic to be covered at the 2013 ENTOG meeting.

Following this we heard from Dr Funda Gode the Turkish representative and Dr Deirdre Hayes-Ryan the Irish representative as they both bid to host the 2016 exchange which will again be held on conjunction with the EBCOG congress. The trainees’ vote was a draw, but the final vote at EBCOG council went to Turkey and this once again promises to be an exciting exchange. The ENTOG/EBCOG meeting in 2014 once again return to the UK, where it will be held in Scotland.

Other council business was attended to and the ENTOG executive welcomes a new member Dr Charlotte Boyden from France.

Overall the exchange and meeting were a great success, friendships were formed and plans for future European collaborations were made. I hope you are all now feeling inspired to attend the exchange next year!!

Dr Anna Fabre-Gray
ENTOG UK representative, RCOG NTC