Serbian Visit to Southampton – May 2014


Dr Knight from Frimley Park led a visit to the Mother and Child Health Institute of Serbia in Belgrade in 2003 along with a physiotherapist and a specialist nurse. In 2012 Jim Hopwood met Dragan Durovic, president of the parents’ association at the CFE conference in Dublin, sporadic correspondence followed but no clear requests for support resulted until Jim attended the CFE South Eastern Europe conference in Belgrade in October 2013. There he met Prof. Minic and Dr Alexander Sovtic who suggested a visit to Southampton by a young doctor and a physiotherapist. As the institute appeared to be well organised and to know its own needs we agreed to this without the usual fact-finding visit from the UK.

The Visit

Dr Milan Rodic and physiotherapist Valentina Pavkovic visited the UK from 17 to 25 May, staying with Dr Hazel Evans and visiting Southampton Children’s Hospital for 5 days. Both visitors spoke excellent English. The programme prepared by Hazel was:

Monday amIntroductions and ward handover
Sleep equipment (Aron Morley)
Sleep training (Johanna Dingle-Gavlak)
Sleep meeting (Dr Hazel Evans)
Introductions and ward handover
Introduction to ward physios
Monday pmCystic Fibrosis clinicCystic Fibrosis clinic
Tuesday amCystic Fibrosis annual review (CF team)
Tracheostomy decanulation Tracheostomy teaching
Cystic Fibrosis annual review (CF team)
Tracheostomy decanulation Tracheostomy teaching
Tuesday pm1.30 pm Cystic Fibrosis related diabetes (Dr Nicola Trevelyan)
Child Health Training Room
2 – 3pm – psychological issues in cystic fibrosis and chronic illness (Nicola Crockett) B block
3pm – establish child on non-invasive ventilation  (Ruth Brinkley)
2 – 3pm – psychological issues in cystic fibrosis and chronic illness
3pm – establish child on non invasive ventilation  (Ruth Brinkley)
Wednesday amOutreach cystic fibrosis clinic Winchester (Dr Gary Connett)Ward work (Tom Meredith)
10.30 CF meeting
11.30 Cystic Fibrosis techniques (Caroline Yonge)
Wednesday pmbronchoscopy (child with TB)
4.30 – Teaching (Dr Gary Connett)
bronchoscopy (child with TB)
4.30 – Teaching (Dr Gary Connett)
Thursday amRespiratory and PCD clinic (respiratory and PCD team)
12.30 – talk on food allergy HGLT
Respiratory and PCD clinic (respiratory and PCD team)
12.30 – talk on food allergy HGLT
Thursday pmTo London for sleep and ventilation meetingTo London for sleep and ventilation meeting
Friday amSleep clinic (Dr Cathy Hill)Ward work with physiotherapists
Friday pm2.30 pm – dietetics (Teresa Curbishley and Sian Phillips)free


Hazel took them sight-seeing in the New Forest on Sunday, Jim took them to Winchester and Southampton on Friday. On the final Saturday they went to London on their own. A dinner was arranged in a local pub on Tuesday evening to thank team members, financed by Drs Connett, Legg and Evans and Jim Hopwood.


Feedback from the visit was excellent.  Both visitors appreciated the warm welcome and what they had seen and learned. However they felt that organisational change would be needed before the institute could benefit from further training. (Currently physios are not specialised and rotate through roles in different departments.)

Hazel Evans wrote “I think having an open door to provide education was very beneficial to them – everyone was really happy to teach them and that partly was a reflection of their enthusiasm. We all enjoyed having them as a team and our feedback to them was also very positive.

For the future if there is follow up education they need we would be very happy to provide that – I got the impression that they were pretty well set up over there but we would be happy to make a visit and give some educational talks as necessary or if anyone else wanted to visit we would be happy to receive them.”

Dr Sovtik wrote “Thank you in perfectly organized visit of Milan and Valentina, who expressed their gratitude to CHI and yourself. They were very motivated to learn and make contacts during their short stay in CF center such as Southampton hospital.

There is a need for further cooperation in physiotherapy and nutrition, but also in specific fields of respiratory medicine such as lung transplantation.”

I hope that we could make some plans together in nearest future.