A pioneering initiative launched to support trainee doctors and benefit patients has received national recognition.
The project has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards.
Five healthcare assistants, who have been specially selected for their clinical skills and care of patients, are now working with trainee doctors on the general surgery inpatient wards.
The clinical assistants free up the doctors from certain paperwork, such as writing requests for laboratory tests or x-rays. They also assist by providing routine clinical skills like taking blood, inserting cannulas and taking patient specimens, as well as supporting with patient observations.
As a result, the trainee doctors have more time for more complex patient care, to ensure they complete their own training, and do not work excessive hours and have proper breaks within and between shifts.
The clinical assistants undertook an intensive period of additional training and assessment, and the project was evaluated at pilot stage to ensure patient care would benefit – as well as the education and working experience of trainee doctors.
The HSJ described the project as “outstanding practice” with “cutting-edge innovations.” It has been praised for improving services for patients, trainee experience and career development for healthcare workers, whilst also delivering significant financial savings.
BSUH workforce modernisation lead Nick Groves explains: “Being shortlisted for such a prestigious award is fantastic. The role has also been commended by Health Education England, and we’re pleased to have been approached by other Trusts for advice – this is all about sharing learning and learning from others.”
The clinical assistant role has also been a springboard for staff: two previous experienced clinical assistants have been selected for professional training as nurses, and one is in the prestigious first cohort of trainee physician associates at Brighton & Sussex Medical School.
The Trust is currently considering extending the clinical assistant role to support trainee doctors working in specialty medicine and stroke medicine.