Borders doctor helps medics worldwide cope with the coronavirus pandemic

A Borders doctor is helping medics across the world deal with the current coronavirus pandemic.

By Kevin McRoberts
Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 10:05 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 10:11 am
Doctor Ali Mehdi has been helping medics cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Doctor Ali Mehdi has been helping medics cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Doctor Ali Mehdi has set up a programme of free weekly online seminars for healthcare workers across the world to help them cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Dr Mehdi, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Borders General Hospital – along with fellow doctor Mathew Sewell, of London, and dentist Omo Akoje Okonkwo, of Surrey – wanted to help medics cope with the unprecedented crisis by bringing in experts to talk on leadership, resilience and crisis management for weekly online Q&A seminars.

All three are studying the Executive MBA at Warwick Business School (WBS) and wanted to pass on the knowledge from their course to help medics lead themselves and their teams during the crisis.

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Healthcare workers have not only faced the suffering of Covid-19 patients and dealing with thousands of deaths from the pandemic, but the danger of contracting the virus themselves while working long draining shifts wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE).

DR Mehdi, who has been a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon for the last 13 years at NHS Borders, has organised weekly hour-long, interactive online sessions for frontline healthcare workers on topics ranging from ‘Staying resilient and high performing teams’ and ‘Transformational leadership in a crisis’ to ‘Patient service in a crisis’ and ‘Understanding your personality and that of your team’.

He said: “This series of programmes has enabled me to become resilient and go beyond fear to learn and grow.

“This is in an environment at work of deep uncertainties from the risk of exposure to Covid-19 and the dynamics caused by varying stress behaviours influencing communications and processes.

“I was motivated by the need to help medics in all roles to be resilient and lead during the coronavirus crisis by sharing the learning at WBS through the network developed from it. It felt important to promote an understanding of one’s self and the environment that we function in to be able to deal with it, rather than just cope, which is the traditional approach.”

Between 50 and 100 healthcare workers have been logging on for the workshops each week, which see an expert give a talk on each topic before a Q&A.

Experts have included leading academics and medics, as well as senior military officers and sports scientists.

Dr Mehdi added: “Eventually we would be keen that our initiative is supported to become an open channel to support enhanced resilience, communication, collaboration and responsible leadership for all in healthcare.”