Workforce, training and education
Yorkshire and Humber


Supporting trainees experiencing difficulties & diversity in trainee needs

Supporting trainees experiencing difficulties

There are multiple sources of help and resources available to assist ESs of trainees who are experiencing difficulties.

Poor performance is usually multifactorial and early recognition and understanding and defining the problem is key. Accurate and contemporaneous documnetation must be kept. An excellent overview and framework is provided by NACT UK at the end of this section ‘Support for Trainees – a Guide for Supervisors’ 2018 (PDF)

Some questions to ask:

Is it important/Does it matter?

Is patient safety potentially compromised?                                                             

Is the problem individual or institutional/organizational/both?

Can the trainee normally do ‘it’?


  • HEE Principles for 'Recognition and Support of Doctors and Dentists in training experiencing difficulties', found at the end of this section contains a summary of the key principles for supporting trainees, the extensive network of support for trainers/trainees and early warning signs for a trainee who may be struggling. Appendix 1 provides detail of available resources for specific types of concern.
  • In addition many trusts have their own local policy for supporting doctors in training, including the role of & when to involve the Director for Medical Education, HR & OH
  • The AAGBI has for many years made a positive impact on addressing fatigue and wellbeing. Multiple resources for ESs and departments are here


  • Our NHS People has many bitesize learning items free for NHS leaders about relevant subjects  eg difficult conversations, looking after teams


Specific challenges an ES may face when supporting a trainee can include:

  • Being educational supervisor for trainees with GMC restrictions. Anon RCoA Bulletin March 2018. Issue 108 pp22-23



Anaesthetist’s guide to the Coroner’s Court in England and Wales. Bass S, Cowman S BJA Education April 2016 16 (4) 130-133 details the role of the coroner, the process and potential verdicts

Resources for your trainees

Your trainee may well have already found some helpful resources locally or regionally. Certainly due to the pandemic there has been an increase in awareness of the need for, and the availability & signposting of wellbeing resources.




  • A brief personal guide to becoming more resilient. Becoming more resilient Remington S. RCoA Bulletin July 2017 Issue 104 p 20-21


Supporting diversity amongst trainees


  • Intergenerational differences and medical education. J Barrie RCoA Bulletin Issue 124 Nov 2020 p.22-3


  • Neurodiversity in practice: autistic anaesthetists can be an asset. Donerty M. Anaesthesia News Dec 2020 issue 401, p6-9


  • Dyslexia and the Anaesthetic trainee Mailoo V, Leng C RCoA Bulletin issue 106 Nov 2017 p22-23.

            Access to dyslexia support is available for trainees via HEYH


  • Cross-cultural communication: Essential skills for physicians Stojiljkovic L, Yilmaz M. RCoA Bulletin Issue 102 March 2017 p15-16


  • Values and behaviours Inkster C. RCoA Bulletin July 2019. Issue 116 pp24-5