Doctors from Norway are sharing expertise with their NHS Grampian counterparts and vice versa in a bid to help tackle recruitment problems in both countries.
A 15-strong group of Norwegian medics, researchers and academics are currently in the North-east to learn about emergency care in the region and to form closer links with the region’s health board.
According to Dr Jamie Hogg, clinical lead for modernisation with NHS Grampian, both areas suffer similar struggles when it comes to filling vacancies, especially in rural areas.
He hopes the strengthening relationship with Norwegian counterparts could see more than just knowledge pass between the two countries.
“The problems of recruiting and retaining GPs in rural areas is common to both systems, so it will be very interesting to understand how they deal with that,” he said.
“I think at a time when it is increasingly difficult to staff these rural areas, we could perhaps do something together in the future.
“I can see how maybe doctors could go and spend time in Norway and see how it’s done and some doctors from there come over here. You could make it interesting for local GPs if you were to offer them a three-month exchange.”
The visitors are with the UNI Research Health Team, which is part of a knowledge centre advising the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care about emergency primary healthcare.
During their two-day trip they will meet staff from the Scottish Ambulance Service, Peterhead Community Hospital and Aberdeen Health Village.
Steinar Hunskår, a member of the visiting group from Norway, said: “We are here to see solutions and to get ideas.
“We need to give people in rural areas the same service as those in the city.
“There are many similarities between NHS Grampian and us – we are both publicly funded for one.
“The use of non doctors here – nurse paramedics – could be of use in areas where we can not recruit doctors – less use of hospitals and more care provided near to home is also a focus.”