Dr Gareth Chapman: Repatriation Medicine
I graduated from Christ Church in 2008, and have been a GP for the last 5 years. I completed my F1 and F2 in London and Brighton, and then spent a year working on Harley Street in a private oncology hospital as an RMO - kind of like a house officer 'plus'. I then completed my GP training in Brighton and during this heard about repatriation medicine. This involves flying worldwide and assessing patients who have become unwell on their travels abroad, and assessing if they are fit to return to the UK. If they are, I escort them back - either on a stretcher or seated, usually with oxygen and limited medical equipment. We always have some downtime in resort before flying home - a minimum of 24 hours in Europe and longer on the long-haul routes. As such I’ve managed to travel widely - from Azerbaijan to Thailand to St. Maarten, as well as the more routine Benidorm and Lanzarote trips. I mix this work with 3 days a week working as a salaried GP. The repatriation companies specifically like the skills of the general practitioner - who has managed to keep up their acute side with an active ALS qualification - due to the extremely varied nature of the work. I have repatriated adolescents after seizures, palliative patients, patients post-MI, even adult psychiatric cases. I really enjoy the variety that this work brings, and think it complements my generalist training as a GP; a lot of the focus post-repatriation is ensuring that the patient can either be returned straight home safely with appropriate community support, or admitted for further care with a robust handover to a UK hospital.