An inspection of training facilities at Galway hospitals has found that interns are being asked to write notes on patients they haven’t seen, or are being overused on menial work.
The Medical Council inspected hospitals within the Saolta Group to measure their compliance Intern and Specialist Training Standards.
While the hospitals were largely found to be compliant with Intern Training standards, some areas of concern were raised.
The Medical Council’s report found that interns at Portiuncula and Galway University Hospitals were sometimes asked to write notes in patient’s charts, even if they hadn’t seen that patient, after the Medical Registrar refused to do so.
At GUH the inspection team also noted that interns were being overused on basic administrative and medical procedures, which could potentially limiting their learning of necessary skills.
There is an ongoing issue with staff and interns at Galway hospitals being overworked, cutting into training time for interns.
President of the Medical Council Dr Rita Doyle said it was essential for hospitals to have the resources to treat their patients, and train future doctors.
“Interns and NCHDs must have the resources required to allow them to treat their patients and to develop their skills while furthering their education.”
“When doctors are overworked without appropriate rest periods and breaks this can lead to an impact on their physical and mental wellbeing and, in turn, could become a patient safety issue.”
“Doctors must be supported in their roles in caring for their patients, especially our interns and our specialist trainees who are the future of Irish healthcare.” concluded Dr Doyle.
Concerns were also expressed at the lack of feedback being given to interns on their training, with them often only receiving any feedback at the end of a rotation or three month period.
While supervision of trainees was largely found to be excellent, one troubling incident took place at GUH where trainees were left unsupervised for a week when the consultant was absent.
For these reports into Clinical Training sites, the Medical Council inspected hospitals in the Saolta University Healthcare Group and the South/South West Hospital Group.
Other than Portiuncula and Galway University Hospital, seven other Irish hospitals received inspections: Letterkenny University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital, University Hospital Kerry, South Tipperary General Hospital, Mercy University Hospital, University Hospital Waterford, and Cork University Hospital.