RCSEd President responds to findings on risk to patient safety due to bullying, lack of training and support for trainee doctors

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29 Jun 2020


Responding to news that Health Education England has uncovered multiple examples of patients being put at risk as a result of trainee doctors being bullied, compelled to conduct tasks they are not trained for and are generally lacking support, Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said:


“HEE’s inspections uncover an extremely worrying pattern of poor behaviour. We are keenly aware from our #letsremoveit campaign that bullying and undermining is an unacceptable fact for many trainees with real life consequences.

“However, the full range of issues reported, such as a reluctance to report concerns, threats by other staff to report trainees if they did not prioritise their requests, and trainees being compelled to complete discharge summaries for patients they had never me are profoundly worrying. All of these issues have a direct, detrimental effect on morale and most importantly patient safety.

“More needs to be done to expose these incidents when and where they occur. Given the impact removing trainees can have on service delivery, including emergency on call rotas, HEE can often only remove trainees from units as a last resort.

“However, where the GMC has determined a Trust requires enhanced monitoring because of these poor professional behaviours, HEE should have no hesitation in removing trainees to another training unit and also potentially withdrawing approval of that Trust’s training programme.

“Robust and quick action can be the very catalyst needed to improve patient safety as well as training, and put into place long term initiatives to improve team culture and behaviours which improve the welfare of our vital future NHS workforce

“HEE must ensure that trainee’s needs and subsequent patient safety take precedence over Trusts workforce issues and that more is done to inform trainees of a particular Trusts’ record in this area in advance of any rotation there.” 

You can read the full HSJ article here.

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