Introduction: Building resilience particularly in remote and rural communities has some real challenges given the diversity of potential adverse events or emergencies that can arise. The transient presence of the mobile skills unit (MSU) during its programme of visits in remote and rural Scotland enables it to act as a catalyst for building resilience to respond to, withstand and recover from adverse or emergency situations.
Background: The six characteristics of a resilient community are outlined below (http://www.ifrc.org/PageFiles/96986/Final_Characteristics_Report.pdf, accessed 05/01/16). A safe and resilient community:
1. is knowledgeable and healthy. It can learn new skills and build on past experiences.
2. is organised. It has the capacity to identify problems, establish priorities and act.
3. is connected.
4. has infrastructure and services.
5. has economic opportunities.
6. can manage its natural assets. It recognises their value and has the ability to protect, enhance and maintain them.
The MSU visits Islay annually and uses simulation to upskill service personnel for multi-agency exercises.
Methods: Three multi-agency exercises have been held on Islay between 2013 and 2015. A series of semistructured interviews with participants from the different public services was undertaken in December 2015. These were transcribed and themes identified using framework analysis.
Results: Themes identified where the MSU enhanced resilience included confidence building in terms of skill development across the service as well as trust from learning to work together.
Conclusions: Multitasking and interdependency were essential in managing an emergency like a distillery explosion in a small remote and rural community.
This abstract was presented at the Innovative Solutions in Remote Healthcare - 'Rethinking Remote' conference, 23-24 May 2016, Inverness, Scotland.