Changes made after trainee complaints

NEW measures have been introduced at a hospital following complaints from trainees of long working hours and a lack of consultant support.

An investigation was carried out by West Midlands Deanery following concerns raised by junior anaesthetists at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust.

All 23 junior doctors involved said they would not recommend others to train at the trust and would not want to apply for a consultant post there. A report from the deanery said concerns had been raised about trainees being asked to carry out procedures beyond their competence without the support of the on-call consultant.

Other trainees reported a “bullying culture” where they were asked to start work early and stay past their finishing time in order to help clear waiting lists. There were also concerns that pre-operative checks were not being completed and that training was unsatisfactory with no “structured in-house protected teaching time”.

Following the deanery investigation, the trust said it had introduced a number of measures to address the issues, including the introduction of better team briefings, the recruitment of extra consultants, extra time for pre-operative assessment and the development of a new code of conduct for theatre staff.

Trust chief executive Julia Bridgewater told HSJ: “The deanery report highlighted some issues. As a result we had external support to help us work through them and significant progress has been made. A re-visit has shown most of the issues have now been resolved.

“We have met both trainees and consultants and conveyed our need to be flexible for our patients’ sake. We have to balance the needs of patients against the need to train doctors.”

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