OET hosts successful Healthcare Communication Forum in Kochi, India
The Occupational English Test (OET), the English language test for healthcare professionals, held a successful first-ever Healthcare Communication Forum in India at Le Meridien Kochi on 30 November. The Forum followed similar events held earlier in the year in both Melbourne and London, and explored the trends, challenges and opportunities in healthcare communication both in India and globally.
Sujata Stead, OET’s Indian-born CEO who is now based in Australia, introduced delegates to OET and provided an update on the organisation’s immense growth over the past 18 months, particularly in India, where candidature has increased 379 per cent year-on-year.
Her presentation was followed by the official opening address on “Healthcare in India – opportunities and challenges in enabling language skills”. High-profile healthcare leaders Prof. Dr A. Zameer Pasha, Founder and Chairman of the Hospital Board of India – IMA, and Major General Elizabeth John, Former Additional Director General (Country Head) of the Indian Military Nursing Services, addressed the audience and set the scene for the presentations to come.
Dr Clive Fernandes, a consultant from Joint Commission International (JCI), delivered the morning keynote on “The importance of employee communication skills in hospital accreditation”. He began by emphasising the critical importance of communication: Studies have shown that poor or missing communication between providers and patients can lead to patient harm or even death. Dr Fernandes then provided an overview of common healthcare communication challenges and short-comings, and identified solutions to improve these. Dr Fernandes’ presentation was based on an OET-sponsored white paper written by JCI.
Two panel discussions were next on the agenda, each featuring distinguished speakers from some of India’s most prestigious hospitals and higher education institutes. The first panel discussed global opportunities for Indian healthcare professionals while the second explored the future of communication in healthcare.
In the afternoon, OET Education Manager David Wiltshire presented to the audience the rationale behind the recent updates to the OET test, demonstrating how the test has kept abreast of changes in the healthcare industry and remains a relevant and reliable assessment of the language proficiency of healthcare professionals. Both regulators and employers can rest assured that the test is fit-for-purpose and that OET alumni have the language skills required to deliver patient safety and quality of care.
Following afternoon tea, Sujata Stead took to the stage again to speak specifically about OET’s considerable investment in India, which includes expanding the current test delivery network with test additional test venues in Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Kottayam, Punjab, Trivandrum and more.
Ratnesh Jha, MD and CEO of Cambridge University Press – South Asia, then informed delegates of the upcoming launch of a new OET preparation book for candidates.
The closing keynote was delivered by Dr Julian M. Simpson from the UK. Dr Simpson is the author of Migrant architects of the NHS: South Asian doctors and the reinvention of British general practice (1940s – 1980s) and spoke about the immense and transformative role played by Indian healthcare workers in Britain’s National Health Service.
The Healthcare Communication Forum concluded with a heart-warming video of a successful OET candidate and closing remarks by OET’s Chief Operations Officer, Richard Brown (Australia). The event was followed by cocktails.