Doctors and Dentists in Difficulty
A considerable number of doctors and dentists will encounter either personal or professional problems which will affect their performance. Since the introduction of personal development plans (PDPs), appraisal, annual assessment, learning agreements and clinical governance, there has been an increase in the number of trainees struggling to achieve their goals within the expected timescale. This now applies to all grades and specialties from Foundation doctors to final year Specialist Trainees. With the increasing pressures on doctors and dentists it is expected that more doctors and dentists will require support during their career.
Within Yorkshire and the Humber early identification and support, either within the specialty or by targeted training outside the Trust, has allowed trainees to progress and succeed.
Due to the increasing number of trainees requiring support, the Yorks & Humber Deanery have formalised a strategy that meets the needs of the trainee, Trusts and ensures patient safety. The strategy for dealing with trainees in difficulty has several clear aims:
- to promote early identification of trainees in difficulty;
- to provide clinical and educational supervisors with a clear structure for identifying and addressing these difficulties;
- to clarify lines of responsibility for other educators involved in managing trainees in difficulty;
- to provide a network of support for educators throughout Yorkshire and the Humber; and
- to establish a group of experts who can deal with specific areas of difficulty, and where necessary, provide opportunities for targeted training.
This strategy encompasses the spectrum of performance difficulties. From one level, the more minor concerns or dilemmas, presenting a potentially low risk to patients or others, to the serious and/or repetitious performance problems that present a high level of risk to patients and others (Level 3), and which require a skilled and possibly disciplinary approach.
The policy document (see the link on the right) provides overarching guidance at each of these three levels.