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Staff ‘belittled’ for contacting senior doctors, NHSE finds

The safety of a teaching hospital’s out-of-hours supervision has been questioned, including reports trainees were told not to ask for help “unless your patient is dying”.

The General Medical Council put University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust’s general surgery training under enhanced monitoring at the end of 2023 following a referral and quality management visit by NHS England South East, Workforce Training and Education – Wessex.

The NHSE team’s visit and subsequent report said doctors in training had claimed senior staff were “not contactable” out of hours and there was “difficulty” in securing senior clinical advice, particularly on Sundays. 

The report added foundation year doctors were “discouraged” from contacting senior staff out of hours by “inappropriate” and “belittling” comments and behaviours, such as being told not to ask for help “unless your patient is dying”. Foundation doctors also reported starting rotation on call and conducting ward rounds without appropriate supervision.

While the GMC open case is centred on patient safety concerns relating to supervising trainee doctors, the workforce and training directorate report also raised concerns about bullying, inappropriate sexual comments made by consultants, and a feeling that foundation doctors were unable to speak up.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 1 May 2024


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