Concerns for patient safety after Isle of Wight hospital report

St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight received a damning report by the GMC Credit: ITV Meridan

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has pledged urgent action following a damning report by the General Medical Council.

Serious concerns have been raised (GMC) about patient safety and support given to doctors in training at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport.

The findings follow a GMC review of medical education and training at sites across Health Education England’s (HEE) Wessex region.

Concerns raised by the GMC include:

  • Trainee doctors at St Mary’s Hospital told the GMC they were sometimes asked to make decisions beyond their level of competence, and the regulator was told that in some cases patients had suffered as a result.

  • The GMC oversees medical education and training across the UK, and heard that some trainees on the island felt they had inadequate clinical supervision when working at night.

  • The suitability of some locum doctors, brought in to cover gaps in staff rotas, to provide safe clinical supervision and patient care was also questioned by trainees.

  • The GMC was also told that trainees in General Internal Medicine, which involves treating patients who have a wide range of acute and long-term conditions, were being signed off as competent for their curriculum by trainers whose methods for assessing them were questionable.

Concerns identified by the GMC were raised with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and HEE Wessex immediately following the visit. Both have given the regulator assurances that the issues are being addressed, and monitoring is ongoing to ensure standards are maintained.

Overall, across the HEE Wessex region, the GMC found that education and training remained a ‘valued part of organisational culture’, even at trusts where understaffing was putting a strain on services, and that doctors in training reported a good educational experience.

A confidential support service provided across the region by HEE Wessex, where staff are trained in coaching and careers support, was particularly praised by the GMC.

The GMC visited Wessex as part of its routine schedule of visits to organisations that commission, manage and deliver education and training for doctors.

The reviews are intended to check standards are being met, to identify any challenges and to encourage the sharing of best practice.