Waikato Hospital on notice to improve intern training

Waikato DHB Women's Health Commissioner Tanya Maloney and chief medical officer Dr Tom Watson.
MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

Waikato DHB Women's Health Commissioner Tanya Maloney and chief medical officer Dr Tom Watson.

Waikato Hospital has been put on notice over the training of young doctors.

A review of the hospital's prevocational medical training by the Medical Council of New Zealand found the health board did not meet four of 22 sets of standards.

The council's final report is expected late September but the hospital has already taken steps to remedy the shortcomings.

The Medical Council of New Zealand has found Waikato Hospital does not meet all its standards for prevocational medical ...
DOMINICO ZAPATA/STUFF

The Medical Council of New Zealand has found Waikato Hospital does not meet all its standards for prevocational medical training.

Waikato DHB chief medical officer Dr Tom Watson has moved to allay fears the hospital could lose its accreditation but one senior executive said the draft report was concerning. 

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The standards not met relate to medical workload issues, the welfare of interns, education resources, clinical task management and training programme governance.

Prevocational medical training spans the two years following a doctor's graduation from med school.

The medical council assess health boards' accreditation every three years.

Watson said it was normal for the DHB to have number of "corrective actions" to undertake following a review.

"We haven't met standards before and we've been given time to resolve them and we have resolved them every time," he said.

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"I look at it as an audit process and they've just identified areas where there's space for improvement and we're working through those.

"It's a timely opportunity for us to have a look at the way we support the young doctors and make it better for them."

It's expected the medical council will give the health board six months to meet all the standards or demonstrate significant improvement.

The Waikato DHB currently has 72 post graduate year one and two doctors. That number will increase to 84 next year.

Waikato DHB executive Tanya Maloney said addressing the medical council's findings is a matter of urgency. 

"I think it's a matter of concern for the executive and the board," Maloney said.

"The junior doctors are a young workforce and they're a critical workforce and we must make sure their education and their welfare is being addressed as best as we possibly can."

A steering group has been set up to oversee the improvements and will meet fortnightly.

The board plan to hire two additional prevocational education supervisors, bringing the total number to eight.

The hours of the DHB's medical education officer have also been increased.

The health board was stripped of its accreditation for obstetrics and gynaecology in December 2015 after failing to meet three of seven standards set by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).

The hospital has since said it's on track to regain the accreditation.

Watson doesn't believe the board's prevocational medical training accreditation is at risk.

"When the final report comes out, it's going to be saying this is a wonderful educational environment. I just don't see it as a realistic option that they [medical council] are going to take it [accreditation] away. Junior doctors say this is a great place to learn."

Maloney said she is committed to working with the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association to address any concerns they might have.

 

 - Stuff

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