The Faculty of Travel Medicine (FTM) of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has published its Good Practice Guide for Providing a Travel Health Service.
This new publication sets out to define the standards of care every practitioner should achieve in their practice of travel medicine for the health and safety of the international traveller.
In this guest blog, Jane Chiodini, Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, explains the background to this guidance and its importance.
The practice of travel medicine has been severely impacted by COVID-19 with a necessary and understandable reduction of travellers seeking advice. It may seem strange for the FTM of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow to be publishing its ‘Good Practice Guidance for Providing a Travel Health Service’ at this time. Not so, because we know from past pandemics, that in due course, travel will be very popular again, indeed it may be busier than ever. Perhaps travellers will be increasingly aware of the advice they need to take to protect their health, I hope so.
Certainly, knowledge of prevention of respiratory disease transmission will be higher and how to effectively wash their hands. To prepare for the future, it is important that practitioners are properly trained and clinically competent. In a field of practice where employers do not always think this time spent training is necessary, the document supports good practice, providing evidence to support the training of those delivering this care, thus ensuring the future wellbeing of the traveller.
The process of developing this document started two years ago. Delivery of travel medicine services varies from country to country, but in the UK such provision is unregulated (with the exception of Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres) and the standard of care fluctuates considerably. Whilst travel health services are delivered in the UK mostly by nurses and pharmacists, the FTM considers the most important aspect of delivering travel health care is not which professional group delivers the care, but that each person doing so exceeds the minimum standard of practice and meets the health needs of the traveller.
Where there is inspection of these services, this is very mixed and unequal too. The FTM recommends that there should be a common standard of inspections of travel medicine providers, both between the professions and the four countries of the UK.
Good Practice Guidance for Providing a Travel Health Service sets out to define the standards of care every practitioner should achieve in their practice of Travel Medicine for the health and safety of the international traveller. Although the document contains certain UK references, it is anticipated that the standards are universal and independent of country of practice. The document sets our expected standards of practice in four key areas:
- Service Delivery.
- Operating/Facility Requirements for a Travel Service.
- Assurance and Governance of Travel Health Services.
- Recommendations for the Practice of Travel Medicine.
The fourth section is supported by two appendices to further enhance standards of practice and training:
- Appendix B provides an example of a practitioner assessment tool for competency in travel health.
- Appendix C lists the training requirements in travel medicine.
These elements will be particularly useful for the practitioner new to this field of practice, but will also serve as a useful tool to identify the practitioner’s current level of practice and further development requirements to support their CPD.
At the end of the document, a comprehensive 12 page ‘booklet’ of useful resources is included followed by a patient leaflet to help the traveller understand what they should expect to experience within a competent travel health consultation.
You can download a copy of the publications now: