The project was conceived after Dr Churchill recognised that, while teenagers often find it difficult or embarrassing speaking to healthcare professionals about their concerns, medical students and trainee GPs rarely have the chance to ‘practice’ consulting with young people in real life. To address this, he devised a new educational DVD that would assist in training and, ultimately, help improve the care that teenage patients receive.
The original HEAR DVD contains video excerpts of a series of GP consultations with four teenagers presenting with different problems. It features three versions of each consultation — one illustrating some examples of common errors, the second demonstrating improved performance and the final one highlighting aspects of best practice. Additional clips provide feedback from the young people themselves and some specific instructional learning points.
The DVD provides a rich resource for trainee doctors, including those studying at The University of Nottingham’s Medical School, and is suitable for either individual study or as part of larger lectures.
The first version of the DVD was produced with funding from the Teenage Pregnancy Unit. Produced in collaboration with a group of GPs and young people in the East Midlands’, it was filmed at Chilwell Meadows Surgery in Chilwell, where Dr Churchill works as a GP. The work was conducted under the auspices of the RCGP Adolescent Health Group and saw around 800 copies of the DVD being distributed to GPs and health professionals nationally.
Following the success of the original DVD, there were calls for a sequel to focus on developing more sophisticated consultation skills for dealing with particularly sensitive issues such as mental health or sexual health problems. Financial support for HEAR-2 has been secured from the RCGP Adolescent Health Group and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust with hopes that with more funding it could be sent out to GP practices across the Yorkshire, Humber and East Midlands Region and, potentially, be made available online.
Dr Churchill hopes that in the long term the DVD could help support GPs in lowering teenage pregnancy rates, detecting and treating mental health problems earlier, promoting positive long-term health behaviours and developing interventions in smoking and alcohol and drug misuse.
Dr Doug Black, Director of Commissioning Development for NHS Nottinghamshire County, said: “It’s great that such a useful and innovative tool has been recognised nationally. This support tool helps medical students and GP trainees prepare for the future so that they can provide excellent care for their patients.”
The DVD was a runner-up in the GP and Primary Care category of the Medipex NHS Innovation Awards and Showcase, which aims to nurture the development and commercialisation of innovations and intellectual property from NHS organisations and staff.
The awards, now in their seventh year, also acknowledge and reward NHS staff whose ideas and innovations have led, or could lead to, significant improvements in healthcare delivery.
Dr Christine Johnson, Community Sub-Dean in the Division of Primary Care and one of the GPs appearing on the original HEAR DVD, represented the project team at a special awards ceremony held on Thursday September 22, where the team was amongst 25 finalists in five categories.
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