Trainees removed from Kent hospital due to lack of consultant supervision

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  22 Μαρ 2017


Health Education England (HEE) has recommended the removal of trainees from the Kent and Canterbury Hospital because of a lack of consultant supervision.

Trainees at the hospital, which is run by the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, were receiving inadequate education and training, HEE said.

It said that 42 of the 76 trainees at the hospital should be moved to the trust’s other two acute hospitals—the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate—to continue with their training.

In a statement HEE said that it had been working with the trust to improve the quality of education and training in the minor injuries unit and urgent care centre, and that it would continue to work with the trust and partners, including the General Medical Council, over the coming weeks “to ensure that this change in the distribution of trainees does not put patients at risk, and that trainees are able to access the support and education for which they are placed with the trust.”

The trust said in a statement that the move was likely to result in temporary changes to some services for patients at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in the next two to three months, particularly in emergency care. “In all, it is likely to affect up to 50 of the 900 people who attend the hospital each day,” the trust said.

Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We will need to temporarily combine a limited number of services at the Kent and Canterbury with those at our hospitals at Ashford and Margate while we work on a sustainable solution. We are committed to making sure as many patients as possible can still be cared for in Canterbury.

“We would like to reassure all patients who are expecting to come into hospital shortly that their appointment or procedure will take place as usual.”

Commenting on the situation, Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, said that the regulator had made an urgent inspection of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust with HEE earlier this month. It found that the quality of education and training received by doctors in the urgent care centre was “seriously below the standards that are required.”

“Not only do the poor levels of clinical supervision that we saw make this an unsafe and unsupportive environment for doctors in training but we are also concerned about the potential impact on patient safety,” Massey said.

He said that the trust had been subject to enhanced monitoring by the regulator since April 2014 after concerns raised in the GMC’s national training survey.

“The trust has had ample time to improve training standards for doctors but has not done so,” Massey said. “We fully support HEE’s decision to move doctors in training from the urgent care centre to other sites across the trust. We will continue to work closely with them and NHS Improvement to make sure that the doctors affected get all the support they need and the disruption to patients is kept to a minimum.”

He added, “If we can be confident the issues HEE have identified are resolved in a sustainable way, there is no reason why doctors in training cannot be returned to the unit.”

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers

 arimmer@bmj.com

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