An investigation has been carried out at a teaching hospital after junior doctors complained of a bullying culture and unsafe practices.
Junior anaesthetists at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust revealed a catalogue of concerns to the West Midlands Deanery following a review of the hospital in March this year.
All 23 junior doctors involved said they would not recommend others to train at the trust and would not wish to apply for a consultant post at the £420m acute trust.
A report by the deanery said complaints included “several examples” of trainees being left to carry out procedures “outside their competence when the on-call consultant would not come in despite lengthy telephone calls from the trainees.”
“Trainees reported there is a bullying culture from the consultant surgeons, especially when making trainees stay to finish their lists after their shift has finished at 6pm,” the report said.
Trainees were asked to start work earlier, by 8.30am and to stay later to try and clear the waiting list at the hospital, which has experienced performance and capacity issues in recent months as demand has increased.
Trainees also expressed fears over pre-operative checks including the World Health Organization checklist not being completed and “pressure” being applied to send patients for surgery before the pre-op assessment was completed.
They also complained about a “varied culture of training”, with difficulty getting consultants to sign-off modules and no “structured in-house protected teaching time”.
The deanery review concluded: “Disappointingly, all trainees present at the review reported they would not recommend their rotation at University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust. Nor would they wish to apply for a consultant post in the hospital in the near future.”
The trust said following the review it carried out a number of actions which have now led to improvements for trainee doctors.
The action plan agreed with the hospital included increasing the pre-operation assessment time of patients to an hour and recruiting extra consultants, including one to manage the rotas worked by the junior staff.
A trust spokesman said improvements had been made including the introduction of better team briefings and the development of a new code of conduct for theatre staff.
Trust chief executive Julia Bridgewater said: “The deanery report highlighted some issues. As a result we had external support to help us work through them and significant progress has been made.”
“A re-visit has shown most of the issues have now been resolved.
“We have met both trainees and consultants and conveyed our need to be flexible for our patients’ sake.
“We have to balance the needs of patients against the need to train doctors.”