Calling all social entrepreneursBMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3671 (Published 30 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3671
All rapid responses
The problem of geriatric care needs to be handled logically, skilfully and efficiently before the problem assumes gigantic proportions. This issue is a common one to be passed through and experienced by most of us. A myopic attitude to its handling would be disastrous. Holistic approach with compassion is easier said than done. Nobody can endure standing on ice for long with warm words. It needs a dedicated team of significantly huge proportions to handle the glaring issue of increasing proportion.
Not only extra effort is needed but tender care and a scientifically driven solution approach with programmes to prevent burn out. A more human and practical approach with reward based encouragement could do the trick. Amalgamation of social organisations that are willing to volunteer selflessly is required in this serious situation where soft human skills are required. In addition, a vigilant caring service needs to be backed with huge financial support by government.
Competing interests: No competing interests
We read this article with great interest. Professor Godlee mentioned that to fit the bill of social entrepreneur, one ‘would need to be motivated by altruism, not profit, able to think creatively, and willing to stimulate disruptive change despite not necessarily being in a formal leadership role.’ We believe the spirit of social entrepreneurship should be encouraged since the early days of medical school. Healthcare professionals often aware of the issues facing their daily practice but lack the time to take an action . Medical students are thus uniquely positioned with their time and enthusiasm. These traits by some means strike resemblance to the work medical students at MedAID for International Need Edinburgh (MedAID) have been doing.
MedAID is a student-led charity (SC039991) that aims to end excess and stop shortage by collecting unwanted medical supplies from hospital, checking their viability, and re-distributing them to settings where they are needed . MedAID was first conceived when medical students at the University of Edinburgh were appalled by the amount of intact supplies binned in hospitals despite them being needed elsewhere, often in developing countries. MedAID was not started with profit in mind, but rather with the desire to end excess and stop shortage whilst empowering medical students to champion a cause they care about. Few years on, it remains this altruistic desire that is pushing MedAID forward.
Being entirely student-run does not preclude the ability of MedAID to stimulate disruptive change; over 30 distributions have been completed to over 20 different countries in Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe with highly positive feedbacks . MedAID demonstrate how despite not having a formal role within the healthcare system, they are still able to stimulate disruptive change locally and globally. Indeed, the scope of MedAID’s work will continue to grow with medical students from Sheffield, Newcastle and Leicester expressing their interest in setting up MedAID locally where they are based.
Organisations like MedAID can serve as the platform for medical students to develop their courage, express their creativity, and empowering them to be the future social entrepreneurs and leaders our healthcare system desperately needs to flourish in an increasingly uncertain future.
Competing interests: EC and HWL are involved with MedAID for International Need Edinburgh.
I absolutely agree with this article and especially in a world with such a fast-paced online and social presence. Medicine has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, with more online providers and less face-to-face person contact. This can be difficult for this ageing population to deal or connect with. With less hours worked by doctors, there is a lack of continuity of care, which I personally feel working as a Locum due to childcare. We need to develop a system to allow for patients to connect with medical staff at their time of need or even before they reach such a vulnerable state. Unfortunately, the contracts for Drs do not help the situation and aren't actually increasing recruitment numbers.
Competing interests: No competing interests