We have a large blue book in the teacher’s room at OISE Cambridge called Hospital English, and without ever having opened it I like to think it contains chapters such as ‘Did you spill my pint?’, but I suppose it is more likely to provide support to teachers teaching English for medicine.
I am not qualified to teach medical English – it is clearly a highly specialised field – but we occasionally have students passing through. The UK seems to have a deficit of qualified doctors, and for some years was regarded as a good place for German doctors to work, for some reason. There was a commensurate slight spike in the English-for-medicine market.
But it is not just practitioners moving country who require support. I recall that years ago, when I worked in Italy, I taught a colonel in the Italian air force who was responsible for overseeing the setting up of a programme between Albania and Italy, whereby Albanian surgeons and doctors would have remote access to one another’s theatres and computers, in order that the Italian doctors could advise their Albanian counterparts face to face and in real time. He told me that the lingua franca between Italians and Albanians was English.
I do not know if that particular programme is still running, but it strikes me as highly likely that specialist medicine crosses all sorts of international and linguistic barriers these days. Medicine, like business, is a globalised phenomenon.
The Cambridge Biomedical Campus continues to swell: it is now the largest biomedical campus outside of the USA.
In 2017 Papworth Hospital, a specialist heart and lung hospital which is currently located thirteen miles to the north of Cambridge, will move to the campus. Go-ahead has been given for a 310-bed hospital which will expand on the campus’s remit for patient care, education and research.
Papworth is famous in Britain as the hospital in which the UK’s first successful heart-transplant took place, in 1979. It was also the site of the World’s first successful heart, lung and liver transplant, in 1986 (an operation carried out in collaboration with Addenbrooke’s). In 2011 it completed its 2000th heart transplant.
It would perhaps be churlish in the circumstances to point out that this will mean more ambulances haring past OISE on vital missions.