PERFORMANCE: Patients at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust are getting better, safer care thanks to an initiative to improve the training and supervision of junior medical staff, especially at weekends.

HEE’s Better Training Better Care programme funded a pilot at East Kent last year. Staff at the William Harvey Hospital have changed the way they work in their emergency, urgent care and long-term conditions departments.  

The project has enhanced trainee support and supervision, especially at weekends, by creating “hot” emergency and “cold” ward-based teams, with an enhanced multi-professional team at weekends.

Early findings from the project include a reduction in the length of stay of patients, especially of those admitted on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The average length of stay has been reduced by a day.

There has also been an increase in weekend discharges, a reduction in the number of serious untoward incidents involving trainee doctors at weekends and improved supervision of foundation doctors, especially at weekends.

In addition there has been improved attendance, management and leadership at Friday handovers.

Susan Kennedy, project manager and education adviser at East Kent, said: “Trainee doctors experience a block of hot team work – an intense, learning-rich experience with protected training time and increased opportunities for undertaking procedures, clinics, audit and teaching for example – and also a longer spell on the cold team, during which other activities like managing patients on the ward, clinics and multi-disciplinary experience can be gained.

“At weekends, the cold team is now multi-professional with a higher specialist trainee, foundation doctor, a band 6 nurse and additional phlebotomy support provided by a health care assistant.”

Following its initial success, the initiative will be rolled out to the trust’s other two hospitals from August.