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Found 58 results
  1. News Article
    New research shared with HSJ has ‘laid bare’ the inequalities experienced by medical trainees, with black doctors more likely to perform worse in exams than any other ethnic group. The report published by the General Medical Council (GMC) highlights that UK medical graduates of black or black British heritage have the lowest specialty exam pass rate of all ethnic groups at 62%, which is almost 20 percentage points lower than that of white doctors (79%). It is the first time the medical regulator has split this data by ethnicity, it said. The GMC has pledged to “eliminate discrimination, disadvantage and unfairness” in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education by 2031 and the disproportionate number of fitness to practise complaints received about ethnic minority doctors and doctors who gained their medical qualification outside of the UK by 2026. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 March 2023
  2. News Article
    Britain could double the number of doctors and nurses it trains under NHS plans to tackle a deepening staffing crisis, according to reports. The proposal to increase the number of places in UK medical schools from 7,500 to 15,000 is contained in a draft of NHS England’s long-awaited workforce plan, which is expected to be published next month. Labour has already announced this policy as a key element of its plans to revive the NHS. However, it could face opposition from the Treasury because of how much it would cost, according to the Times, which reported on the plan. The NHS in England alone is short of 133,000 staff – equating to about a tenth of its workforce – including 47,000 nurses and 9,000 doctors, according to the most recent official figures. There are also shortages of midwives, paramedics and operating theatre staff. Staff groups say routine gaps in NHS care providers’ rotas are endangering patients’ safety, increasing workload and costing the service money. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 February 2023
  3. Content Article
    “Yes.” This was the dismaying response of consultant breast surgeon, Mr Hemant Ingle, when asked at a talk, hosted by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI), whether he thought another scandal on the scale of that caused by Ian Paterson could unfold today. Disgraced breast surgeon Paterson is currently serving a 20-year sentence after unnecessarily operating on over 1,200 patients at NHS and private hospitals in the West Midlands area between 1997 and 2011. Three months into my first year of General Practice Specialty Training, I sat in that auditorium utterly stunned at Mr Ingle’s candour. Was it pessimism or devastating realism? Having watched the appalling events unfold in a screening of the ITV documentary ‘Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon’, we were honoured to be joined by a panel of experts, including Debbie Douglas, one of the indescribably courageous patients who helped to expose Paterson. Over the next hour, the panel unpacked the factors deemed to have enabled Paterson’s actions, his potential motives and the consequences of the subsequent inquiry for society at large. It made for disturbing listening. Having trained entirely within the public sector, as all new medical graduates must do in the UK, I was completely ignorant to the circumstances within private hospitals which had catalysed Paterson’s reign of terror. I had no idea that private hospitals bore no responsibility for the patients treated within their walls, that doctors working in such hospitals often had no requirement to adhere to otherwise national guidance on healthcare provision, that private hospitals may have no facility to provide adequate emergency treatment to those suffering medical complications after procedures performed on their own premises. Before that evening, I had never before heard a patient state so heartbreakingly that they struggled to trust medical professionals. That disquieting symposium was not my first exposure to the sinister side of medicine. Seeking supplementary education in a field strikingly neglected in my own core undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, I had, just a few weeks before the CHPI event, joined a webinar hosted by the British Society of Sexual Medicine (BSSM). One of the presenters was a patient who had experienced first-hand the pernicious effects of vaginal mesh insertion. Whilst her story had a positive outcome, other vaginal mesh patients have not been so fortunate. Thousands of women continue to suffer from chronic pain, fatigue and urinary dysfunction, amongst countless other symptoms. Through subsequent investigations, it has emerged that vaginal mesh manufacturers had significant financial links to clinicians, researchers and Royal Colleges, and that side effects and complications were widely under-reported. Campaigns such as Sling The Mesh, founded by Kath Sansom, ensure that this landscape is changing, but it should not have come to this. I’m not sure how to feel any more. I’ve spent a lot of time with doctors over the last eleven years. At sixth form, I would send countless unsolicited emails to consultants at local hospitals, pleading for the chance to observe their surgeries, to shadow their ward rounds. Throughout university, I scribbled down every word of juniors, registrars, consultants, hoovering each crumb of knowledge that might make me the best doctor that I could be. Since I graduated in 2020, and started working as a Foundation Year Doctor in London, these professionals have become my peers, my colleagues, my 'bosses'. Whilst of course, some have been more personable, more welcoming, than others, I have thankfully never had the misfortune of encountering a character like Paterson. In Ipsos' 'Global Trustworthiness Index', most recently released in October 2021, doctors were ranked highest in 28 countries, with over 70% of UK respondents believing us to be the most reliable of all professionals. This was the mindset in which I trained; I felt comfortable and worthy of such an accolade. I want to be the person that patients can rely on at their most vulnerable, that relatives feel they can approach with any worry, large or small. To hear now that, for entirely good reason, the implicit confidence that the public had in their medical professionals is no longer a guarantee, made me feel rather unsteady. How do I feel about being part of a profession in which such deceit can go unchallenged? Do I want to be associated with 'experts' who fail to acknowledge the legitimate anxieties of their patients? I'm not going to leave medicine. Fortunately, the Patersons of the world are hugely outnumbered by respectable, conscientious, genuine, caring doctors – those that do earn the premier spot in an Ipsos poll. However, I do think that I have been naïve. Whilst Paterson’s actions are deplorable, a single ‘rogue’ surgeon can be dealt with. This is not to downplay the absolute devastation and anguish that he has caused his patients and their loved ones, and not to diminish the fact that his ousting took far too many attempts from those bold enough to question him, and not nearly enough support from those who should have held him accountable. It is the systemic failures which allowed Paterson to operate unmonitored, which enabled vaginal mesh surgeries to continue unchecked, which permitted side effects to go unrecorded, that I find so unsettlingly insidious. Whether these repeated failures in the healthcare system are underpinned only by financial motives, by greed, as seems the most obvious explanation, we may never know, and perhaps finding reason should not be our priority. As a doctor, my duty is to advocate. Fortuitously for themselves and those whom they are now able to advise and support, both Debbie Douglas and the patient featured in the BSSM webinar are intelligent, well-spoken, confident women. Others affected by the scandals mentioned here, and countless more that are not, may not be so well-equipped. Those who are perhaps older, less educated, who do not speak English as a first language, with other medical conditions rendering them less able to campaign, rely on others to do so on their behalf. This is only one piece of the jigsaw – in order for patients to request help, they must know who is able to help them, and must feel secure and empowered to ask for assistance. Similarly, doctors must feel emboldened in discussing issues with appropriate colleagues. This is not necessarily easy. A conversation after the CHPI panel discussion highlighted how GPs in particular, often mistakenly viewed as lesser doctors, may feel pressured to maintain respect for themselves within the medical profession and, thus, be reluctant to escalate patient concerns for fear of ridicule from secondary or tertiary care. It goes without saying that such anxiety should never alter the care we provide to patients. However, this perceived imbalance of medical aptitude, resulting in such a discrepancy in the level of esteem to which medical professionals are held, is just one example of a saddening toxic facet of the medical world. This is also reflected in the response to whistleblowers, both in the moment and through the lasting effect on a professional’s career, as exemplified by Mr Hemant Ingle speaking of the hospital that previously employed both himself and Paterson: “They don’t like me, of course they don’t”. Only by changing this mindset, and curating a more supportive, protective, transparent culture, where healthcare professionals of all levels and types can freely voice concerns, can we ever hope to avoid such disasters in the future. So, in real terms, what should I do as a training GP? Put simply, I must abide by the GMC’s ‘Duties of a Doctor’. Firstly, I must remain aware and knowledgeable of current biomedical and medicolegal affairs to ensure that I do not inadvertently, even if innocently, reassure or dismiss patient concerns through ignorance. Attending regular knowledge update courses and accessing appropriate journal articles are more formal avenues of learning, but I should supplement these by keeping abreast of health news in popular media, such that I may pre-empt problems with which patients may present. This is all with the understanding that I must never act beyond the limits of my competence and must never allow fear of criticism to prevent me from seeking advice, whether this is from more senior colleagues, supervisors or specialist doctors. For my patients, and indeed for colleagues who may come to me with their own queries, I should reciprocate by remaining approachable and sympathetic. My interactions with colleagues and patients alike should take place in a partnership model – while of course there are many times when hierarchy can be appropriate, I aspire to be the doctor who equips her patients to become experts in their own health and to advocate for themselves. I will strive to communicate with patients in formats appropriate to each individual. Once a patient has chosen to trust me, I must be mindful of the fact that trust can just as easily be lost as gained. I shall keep patient safety at the fore by following GMC guidance on raising and acting upon concerns, reporting any adverse effects of medication or treatment that are divulged to me, obeying my duty of candour if I believe a patient to have been placed at risk, not allowing any conflicts of interest to influence patient care, and acting with overarching honesty and integrity. Yes, another Paterson-level scandal could, and will almost certainly, unfold again. However, if I aspire to achieve each aim outlined above, I will indeed become the kind of doctor that sixteen-year-old me held in such high regard. Until we fix the system, all I can do is my best.
  4. News Article
    Two health watchdogs have issued safety warnings after junior staff were left to work unsupervised on maternity wards previously criticised after a baby’s death. Training regulator, Health Education England (HEE), criticised the “unacceptable” behaviour of consultants who left junior doctors to work without any superiors at South Devon and Torbay Hospital Foundation Trust’s wards. The maternity safety watchdog Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) also raised “urgent concerns” over student midwives and “unregistered midwives” providing care without supervision. The latest criticism comes after the trust was condemned over the death of Arabella Sparkes, who lived just 17 days in May 2020 after she was starved of oxygen. According to a report from December 2022, seen by The Independent, the HEE was forced to review how trainees were working at the trust’s maternity department after concerns were raised to the regulator. It was the second visit carried out following concerns about the department, and reviewers found there had been “slow progress” against concerns raised a year earlier. Read full story Source: The Independent, 16 February 2023
  5. Content Article
    Key messages 90% of National Nurses Associations (NNAs) are somewhat or extremely concerned that heavy workloads, and insufficient resourcing, burnout and stress related to the pandemic response are the drivers resulting in increased numbers of nurses who have left the profession, and increased reported rates of intention to leave this year and when the pandemic is over. 20% of NNAs reported an increased rate of nurses leaving the profession in 2020 and studies from associations around the world have consistently highlighted increased intention to leave rates. More than 70% of NNAs report that their countries are committed to increase the number of nursing students, but highlight that when this happens there will still be a three-to-four-year gap before new graduate nurses are ready to enter the workforce. During that time, they fear an exodus of experienced nurses. Due to existing nursing shortages, the ageing of the nursing workforce and the growing COVID-19 effect, ICN estimates up to 13 million of nurses will be needed to fill the global nurse shortage gap in the future. It is imperative that governments act now to mitigate the risk of increased turnover among nurses and improve nurse retention.
  6. Event
    The conference theme, ‘The Surgical Multidisciplinary Team: delivering safe, skilled, and effective care’ will focus on career progression for various practitioner groups whilst exploring the benefits of working collectively in a modern surgical team. Delegates will hear personal experiences of the challenges faced from the perspective of a Surgical First Assistant (SFA) and a consultant and a surgical trainee’s experience of working with non-medical practitioners. In addition, delegates will hear presentations on the need for a professional indemnity cover and much more. Register
  7. Event
    This ASCEND (acquiring skills, career exploration, networking and development) webinar aims to help students and newly qualified practitioners to develop the practical and personal skills needed to succeed during the early years of their perioperative career. It will focus on two main skills - leadership and the management of anaesthetic emergencies. Leadership is often mistaken for something that only comes with vast experience in a particular discipline. We will be re-examining ‘what is leadership?’ and introducing some leadership opportunities available early in your perioperative career. Management of anaesthetic emergencies is a crucial part of perioperative care. This is not only relevant for anaesthetic practitioners, it incorporates the whole theatre team. Being able to identify an anaesthetic emergency is a valuable skill in your early career. Learning outcomes: An introduction into leadership opportunities available early in your perioperative career. Understand different styles of leadership and how you can deploy them in your everyday practice. Identifying anaesthetic emergencies and learning through virtual simulation. Register
  8. Content Article
    The following key emergent themes of the Future Doctor Programme will help to prioritise the next stage of medical education reform: Patient-Doctor Partnership Doctors in the future clinical team have the patient firmly front and centre to promote supported shared-decision making and enable patients to make the best use of available care and support. The Extensivist and Generalist Future Doctors will have confidence in a greater breadth of practice across disciplines and specialties due to a strong base of generalist skills, which will enable them to deliver complex, comprehensive care managing co-morbidities in changing healthcare environments. Leadership, Followership and Team Working Future Doctors will demonstrate compassionate and collaborative leadership and effective teamworking. The Transformed Multi-professional Team Future Doctors will espouse and promote a culture where each member of the multi-professional team is acknowledged, respected, valued and empowered to accept shared responsibility. Doctors will promote other healthcare roles to patients and the public. Population Health and Sustainable Healthcare Future Doctors will learn, while embedded in their local community, to better understand population needs and use resources optimally to improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the whole population. They will embrace a culture of stewardship and a sense of community responsibility. Adoption of Technology Technology will be employed by Future Doctors as an enabler for change in clinical care and in education (e.g. remote supervision and care delivery and AI augmenting clinical decision making). Work-life Balance and Flexibility Throughout a Career Future Doctors will have flexibility in training and working, with access to portfolio careers and lifelong learning opportunities for changing careers. Driving Research and Innovation Every Future Doctor will be a scholar and will support patients to make informed choices around engaging in research. Future clinical academics will be local leaders in co-ordinating local, regional and national research and innovation.
  9. News Article
    Questions are being asked why the government is sticking to its cap on medical and dentistry places. A shortage of doctors and other medical staff has been described as the biggest challenge facing the NHS. But the number of places at UK medical schools are capped - in England this year there are 7,500 places. England's Education Secretary James Cleverly told the BBC that you can't just "flick a switch" to increase the capacity to train more doctors. Medicine is one of a handful of courses where numbers are limited by the government, because the cost is heavily subsidised. In 2020 and 2021 the government lifted the cap on numbers, which last year led to more than 10,000 places being accepted. But this year the cap in England is being reintroduced. Mr Cleverly told the BBC that the nature of highly technical, vocational courses like medicine meant increasing the number of places was far from straightforward. "To increase those numbers you would also need to increase the capacity in training institutions, both in universities and in hospitals. "It is not something you can just flick a switch and significantly increase the capacity to train. "The increases have got to be funded, they are technical and expensive courses and we need to understand the balance of requirements between these courses and other courses that the government is supporting financially." Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 August 2022
  10. Content Article
    As a dermatologist practicing in Detroit, Michigan, a city where the population is more than 80% people of colour, Meena Moossavi has seen how health inequities have disproportionately harmed her patients. At times, her patients of colour have come to her with late-stage skin cancer that she believes may have been better treated if it had been detected earlier. Because of a lack of awareness of the risks of skin cancer among Black people and clinicians’ lack of experience diagnosing skin conditions in people with darker skin, melanoma for Black patients can go untreated far longer than when it’s identified for White patients, Moossavi explains in this article.
  11. Content Article
    The book aims to provide well-founded, practical guidance to those responsible for leading and implementing human factors programmes and interventions in health and social care. It's structured around the different levels of a system, where practitioners might place their focus. For each level, the nature of issues that are frequently addressed is given, followed by a characterisation of available human factors methods and approaches. Then, a selection of representative and important human factors methods and approaches is described in detail using a practical example, helping guide practitioners through the many opportunities for human factors interventions and the wide range of methodological choice. Chapter 1 objectives and learning outcomes: To explain what human factors and the systems approach are. To understand what to look at within a healthcare work system. To be familiar with how human factors approaches improve system outcomes. To understand how human factors practitioners work.
  12. Content Article
    Giving birth in England is considered very safe. But it doesn’t mean we can’t do more, and it doesn’t mean we should only look at mortality. There are other questions we need to be asking: What kind of start are we giving mothers? Do they feel safe giving birth? Do they feel safe in pregnancy? Do they feel safe in those first few weeks and months looking after that tiny new person? Motherhood is hard. Looking after mothers so that they can take good care of their babies makes good sense, so maybe looking after those who are caring for mothers makes good sense too? The Royal College of Midwives (the UK’s only midwifery union) predicts that there is a shortfall of over 2000 midwives in England [1] and yet a recent survey of its members revealed that 57% are considering leaving the profession in the next year.[2] As a student midwife, it is disheartening entering a profession where morale is so low, and I wonder what effect this has on safety? All jobs have their downsides and midwifery is no exception. But if changing these downsides meant safer better births, is that not worth the cost? No more missed breaks. No more reduced breaks. No more finishing late without being reimbursed. No more midwives with UTIs because there simply hasn’t been time to stay hydrated and use the bathroom. No more signs up about staff room valuables being stolen because everyone would have a locker. No more ‘pay rises’ that are effectively pay cuts. No more buying extra uniforms because not enough have been provided to comply with infection control policies. No more fishing a teabag out with the end of a knife. Maybe that last one sounds silly? But I do think the small things count. The small things that can help staff feel cared for whilst they put their emotional and physical energy into keeping mums and babies safe. Caring for a new baby is an amazing time for many parents, but it’s no walk in the park. Often friends and family members want to make it easier for the parents, but they don’t know how to. There’s a bit of a cliché that if we look after the mum, we’ll look after the baby. I wonder if it is the same in midwifery? If we look after the midwives, we look after the mums. If we imagine a hypothetical scenario where somebody’s life is in danger and the doctor says we can save you, we just need to do ‘x’. Most people will do whatever ‘x’ is to save their life – it is a very basic survival instinct. However, real life scenarios are rarely this straightforward; in real life, the risks are not always so clear cut, sometimes we have good evidence of the mathematical risk of doing (or not doing) something, and at other times we don’t know. The other problem with real life scenarios is dealing with real people, each with their individual needs, values and lifestyles. So in real life, the issue of safety is also more complicated than survival. Safety in maternity services is not just about keeping mum and baby alive. It is absolutely a worthy goal to improve perinatal mortality rates, I am not sure anyone would argue with that, but this should be our base level for safe care. And what comes on top of it is not just a bonus, it is actually very important and can have a huge impact on future health and wellbeing. So what are a few of the key safety issues? We can’t think about safety in maternity without considering some of the alarming disparities highlighted in the Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK (MBRRACE) report.[3] It showed that black and Asian women have a higher risk of dying during pregnancy and that those who live in the most deprived areas are also more at risk of death in pregnancy and the period after. We can’t consider safety in maternity and ignore the recent Ockenden report,[4] which highlighted major failings at one particular trust, but with wider implications. Like previous investigations into maternity service failings, one key issue is workplace culture. The kind of culture where staff live in fear of speaking up when things are going wrong, the kind of culture where staff don’t want to go into work anymore. We have maternity services with a one size fits all approach, where a lot of midwives are leaving and staffing is already short, where disparities in outcomes because of race exist, all set in a culture where fear and blame are rife. How did we get to this? I can’t imagine any midwife sets out to become a part of the problem. But how can you give individualised care when you are just keeping your head above water? How can you stay in a job that leaves you exhausted because you are covering the shortfall? Tackling disparities requires time to train staff to become culturally competent and plan care that is personalised and non-judgmental. As midwives and student midwives, safe care includes appreciating the nuances of each client we work with. Appreciating the nuances of each team member so that effective teamwork changes the culture and it is a joy to go to work every day. So many of these changes start with individuals. Individual midwives. Individual student midwives. Individual obstetricians. What if we looked after these staff members? What if we gave them the same great care and respect we expect them to provide? This is not a negative woe-is-me kind of blog. This is a dreaming blog - this could happen! There could be more care and compassion for the maternity workforce. And what kind of difference could it make? With recent railway strikes, there are whispers of union action in other public services. This issue feels more complicated in caring professions like midwifery. Balancing the legal right to strike with the legal responsibility to care for childbearing women. I have never met a midwife whose primary reason for choosing the career was to make money. It is a job of passion, love and dedication. But this does not mean it should be poorly paid with poor conditions. Quite the opposite in fact. Midwifery is sometimes seen as a profession primarily relating to women, and this is true. But actually, midwifery affects everyone: partners, children, whole families, future generations. Midwives are involved in virtually every pregnancy, and almost every birth is attended by a midwife. Everybody is born. What kind of working conditions would you have wanted for the midwife caring for you at your own birth? And what kind of working conditions will midwives have as they serve future generations? Because you can bet your life it will impact the quality of care they can offer. References 1 Falling NHS midwife numbers show worrying trend says the RCM. Royal College of Midwives, 18 May 2022 2 RCM warns of midwife exodus as maternity staffing crisis grows. Royal College of Midwives, 4 October 2021 3 Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care: Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2017-19. Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK (MBRRACE-UK), November 2021 4 Ockenden Report: Findings, conclusions and essential actions from the independent review of maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. 30 March 2022
  13. Content Article
    Key findings: Racism is widespread within the medical workforce. Over three quarters (76%) of respondents experienced racism in their workplace on at least one occasion in the last two years. Of these, 17% experienced racist incidents on a regular basis. Experiences of racism included discriminatory comments, being given fewer opportunities, more scrutiny of work, bullying by patients and colleagues, continued mispronunciation of names, and social exclusion. Overseas qualified doctors experience racism more often than doctors trained in the UK. 84% of respondents who qualified overseas said they had experienced racist incidents in their workplace in the last two years, compared to 69% of respondents who trained in the UK. Respondents who had qualified overseas were twice as likely to think that racism was a barrier to their career progression than those who had qualified in the UK (60% compared to 27%). Experiences of racism are significantly under-reported. 71% of respondents who personally experienced racism chose not to report this to anyone. The most common reasons given by respondents for not reporting experienced incidents were not having confidence that the incident would be addressed (56%) and being worried about being perceived as a troublemaker (33%). For those who did report, the most common outcome reported was that no action was taken (41%). Reporting experiences of racism results in backlash. Of those who had reported experiences of racism, nearly 6 in 10 total respondents (58%) said that doing so had a negative impact on them. Negative impacts described included being viewed as a troublemaker, being made to feel like the report was an overreaction, being overlooked for progression opportunities, and being made to feel like the incident was their fault. Racism has an impact on career progression for many doctors. Six in ten (60%) of respondents from Asian backgrounds, 57% from Black backgrounds, 45% from Mixed backgrounds, 36% from White non-British backgrounds, and 58% from all other backgrounds said they felt racism had been a barrier to their career progression, compared to 4% of White British respondents. Experiences of racism are affecting doctors’ confidence and mental and physical wellbeing. Six in ten respondents (60%) said that the racism they had experienced had negatively impacted their wellbeing. Respondents detailed a range of negative impacts including depression and anxiety, increased stress levels, lowered confidence and self-esteem, sleep issues, worsened physical health, and feelings of demotivation, frustration, and anger. Many doctors are considering leaving or have left their jobs because of racial discrimination. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they had considered leaving a job because of racial discrimination and a further 9% said they had actually left a job.
  14. Community Post
    A question posed by a delegate at our Patient Safety Learning Conference 2019: 'As invaluable sources of fresh intelligence, how can we encourage students/learners to become active leaders in patient safety?' What are your thoughts?
  15. News Article
    Ten junior doctors have been removed from a struggling hospital over concerns they were being left without adequate supervision on understaffed wards. Health Education England (HEE) removed the 10 foundation year one doctors, all on a general medicine rota, from Weston General Hospital last month. The General Medical Council said the trust’s previous efforts to address the issues “have not been sufficient or sustainable”. University Hospitals Bristol and Weston Foundation Trust did not say which services HEE had removed the juniors from or what mitigations had been put in place. However, the trust told HSJ none of the positions concerned were from the hospital’s emergency department, where the GMC has already imposed conditions on juniors’ training. HEE very rarely uses its power to withdraw trusts’ trainees. HSJ reported last June the regulator had only removed two posts at trusts under enhanced monitoring since the start of 2019. William Oldfield, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston FT medical director, said in a statement to HSJ: “We recognise the seriousness of the step taken by HEE to temporarily suspend the training programme for a small number of junior doctors at Weston General Hospital. ”We are working to provide the assurance HEE require to allow this training to recommence, and in the meantime we have appropriately mitigated the impact on services at Weston.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 10 May 2021
  16. News Article
    A major British medical school is leading the drive to eliminate what it calls "inherent racism" in the way doctors are trained in the UK. The University of Bristol Medical School says urgent action is needed to examine why teaching predominantly focuses on how illnesses affect white people above all other sections of the population. It comes after students pushed for reform, saying gaps in their training left them ill-prepared to treat ethnic minority patients – potentially compromising patient safety. Hundreds of other UK medical students have signed petitions demanding teaching that better reflects the diversity of the country. The Medical School Council (led by the heads of UK medical schools) and the regulator, the General Medical Council, say they are putting plans in place to improve the situation. A number of diseases manifest differently depending on skin tone, but too little attention is given to this in training, according to Dr Joseph Hartland, who is helping to lead changes at the University of Bristol Medical School. "Historically medical education was designed and written by white middle-class men, and so there is an inherent racism in medicine that means it exists to serve white patients above all others," he said . "When patients are short of breath, for example, students are often taught to look out for a constellation of signs – including a blue tinge to the lips or fingertips – to help judge how severely ill someone is, but these signs can look different on darker skin." "Essentially we are teaching students how to recognise a life-or-death clinical sign largely in white people, and not acknowledging these differences may be dangerous," said Dr Hartland. Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 August 2020