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by Tom Freeman
05 August 2015
‘Serious concerns’ lead to removal of doctor training at Highland hospital

‘Serious concerns’ lead to removal of doctor training at Highland hospital

The General Medical Council has confirmed ‘serious concerns’ about staffing levels and patient safety led to the removal of junior doctors in training from Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

NHS Highland and NHS Education Scotland yesterday issued a joint statement confirming training had been suspended following the resignation of a long-term consultant physician.

The trainees have been reallocated to another training location, the statement said.

The GMC today said it had been monitoring the hospital. Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said:

“Caithness General Hospital has been subject to our enhanced monitoring process since March this year because of serious concerns about training – concerns which can affect patient safety.

“We therefore fully understand the decision by NHS Education for Scotland and NHS Highland to remove all doctors in training from the hospital on a temporary basis. It reflects ongoing concerns in particular about the impact of staffing levels on the safe supervision of these doctors in both medicine and surgery.

“Patient safety must be the primary concern of everyone involved and we will work with all our partners to make sure a safe and sustainable solution is found both for patients and the doctors who care for them.”

Meanwhile Scottish Labour has raised concerns about staffing levels in NHS Fife. Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley has written to Health Secretary Shona Robison after reports an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Kirkcaldy faced closure at the weekend.

“I am told that the management team thought it was acceptable on Saturday to use nurses from elsewhere in the hospital to staff the ICU. 

“It has been suggested to me that these nurses had no experience and one ended up with a ventilated and dialysis patient and no skills to look after this patient.  This nurse was in tears by the end of the day,” he said.

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