Plans agreed to retain trainee doctors in Weston emergency department

The General Medical Council (GMC) has confirmed that trainee doctors will continue in training posts at Weston General Hospital’s emergency medicine department after the trust drew up detailed plans to address concerns over patient and trainee safety.

Trainees at Weston Area Health NHS Trust had raised concerns about the support and supervision available to them to provide safe care in the department, where GMC conditions on training environments had been breached repeatedly over the last year.

Despite the trust’s efforts to address concerns around trainee supervision and adequate staffing levels, the GMC remained concerned that the local health system was unable to provide a sustainable plan to tackle the underlying issues. In September the GMC wrote to the trust seeking a concrete action plan, without which it would be necessary to set a condition that would preclude Foundation and GP trainees from holding training posts in the emergency department.

Following representations submitted by the trust and health partners, the GMC has determined that there is now evidence of deliverable plans which should address concerns, with progress under way to bring about sustainable improvements.

"Our standards for doctor's training environments are clear, and we will always use our powers where we are concerned that patients are not receiving the best possible care."

Professor Colin Melville

GMC Director of Education and Standards

Professor Colin Melville, Medical Director and Director of Education and Standards for the GMC, said:

‘We are pleased to see a coherent and detailed action plan to address the concerns at Weston Area Health NHS Trust. NHS partner organisations are clearly engaged and supportive, and there is demonstrable cross-system cooperation.

‘We will continue to monitor training in emergency medicine at Weston to make sure a safe, effective and positive learning environment can be sustained at the trust.’

The GMC and Health Education England, which places doctors in training posts, will continue to monitor conditions in the department. If the action plan is not delivered or further concerns are found in the training environment, the GMC will re-assess and may need to reconsider further conditions on approval.