A teaching hospital has had its cardiac surgery trainees withdrawn by Health Education England.
St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust saw the four trainees withdrawn from its cardiac surgery department amid the ongoing dispute between senior clinicians and management.
A spokesman for the trust said the trainees had been withdrawn after it had raised concerns about its unit with HEE, which commissions the training of doctors. It said the concerns centred around “current challenges within the service - including team behaviours”, and the impact this could have on trainees.
The spokesman said the trust had done this to “ensure that our cardiac surgery trainees work in an environment where they get the experience they need.”
HEE subsequently interviewed the trainees before taking the decision to remove them and find them placements elsewhere, he said.
In the letter sent to the trust, HEE said the concerns were around “the learning environment”, “the fact that the training environment is not conducive to the teaching and oversight” of trainees, and the “case mix necessary to sustain training”.
The trust suspended complex cases in the unit on Monday and HEE’s letter is dated Tuesday September 11.
A spokeswoman for HEE said: “The HEE executive took the decision based on the recommendation of local HEE clinical leaders working with both the trust and NHS Improvement, both of which support the action taken.”
The trust said trainees’ supervision was led by surgeons Justin Nowell and Professor Marjan Jahangiri - the latter of which recently won a legal action reversing her suspension from the trust.
The disputes within the surgical team and between management and staff have already meant some staff members’ contracts have not been renewed, while external oversight from another trust has been brought in.
In legal papers, Professor Jahangiri said a dead animal and a decapitated doll had been sent to her home in 2017. She believes this was in response to concerns she had raised about colleagues.
The documents also included an allegation from a bed manager that she had cancelled an NHS patient to treat a private one. Several separate investigations are ongoing into the different allegations relating to the unit.