How the national training survey improved clinical oncology trainees’ satisfaction at Belfast City Hospital

In 2019 the national training survey results for the clinical oncology department at Belfast City Hospital showed that training was rated as below average in several areas. This included workload, local teaching, feedback, and overall satisfaction.  

What action was taken?

To improve the standards, the department worked with trainees and trainers to develop a set of initiatives to address their concerns and improve their experiences. This included:

  • making local teaching more flexible – previously trainees had difficulties in accessing local and regional teaching, which was provided in short weekly formats. Teaching has now been restructured to a longer monthly session and this time is protected.
  • expanding the team to reduce workloads – the department hired more non-medical staff to support chemotherapy clinics. This reduced the workload for trainees and added more varied skills to the team.
  • improving reporting systems – a system is now in place to make sure that senior staff regularly disseminate any changes to practice with other colleagues, helping to raise awareness of issues. Trainees are also provided with regular email updates on safety concerns and invited to safety and governance meetings.
  • clinical supervision out of hours – educational meetings now cover any issues with levels of supervision. This allows staff to highlight supervision shortages and make sure that issues are quickly resolved. 

What was the outcome?

As a result of these changes standards of training in the department have improved. This was evidenced in the 2022 national training survey results, with areas that were performing poorly now receiving improved scores. Clinical supervision and reporting systems also received above average scores in the 2022 results. Additionally, levels of overall satisfaction increased.

The department continues to monitor the national training survey results to check that initiatives are still effective, and that training is meeting our standards. The data is also used by the department to identify which areas are working well and where further interventions are needed.