BREAKING NEWS: Junior doctors to return to Bedford Hospital’s paediatric unit

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Trainee doctors can begin to return to Bedford Hospital’s Paediatric department from August, the Health Education East of England (HEEoE) and the General Medical Council have announced.

In an unprecedented move, the announcement paves the ways for the return of junior doctors to the paediatrics department.

It follows an assessment of the department against the GMC criteria for a supportive and high quality training environment for junior doctors.

It is the first time that junior doctors have been reinstated at a hospital after being withdrawn.

The inspection team, chaired by Professor Simon Gregory, which included the GMC, NHS England, NHS Trust Development Authority, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and a host of local experts, also assessed the quality of supervision and education provision across other specialties and departments.

Under the conditional arrangements that will be reviewed at regular intervals from October this year, junior doctors will return to the department in tranches from August starting with GP trainees.

Chief Executive of Bedford Hospital, Stephen Conroy, said: “I am delighted that the GMC and HEEoE have judged the hospital’s paediatric department to be a suitable training and learning environment for junior doctors.

“We have worked incredibly hard over the past eight months to ensure we embed best practice in education; recruit more paediatricians to provide direct care to patients and better support to junior medical staff; and put in place all the actions and recommendations made to us by Health Education East of England, and our independently commissioned reports into education at the Trust.

“We are committed to making sure we maintain high standards of education, supervision and support for all our trainee staff; recognising the critical role they have in the delivery of care, and the responsibility we have in ensuring the best possible platform for their future careers as caring professionals.

“We will maintain our focus on continual improvement in education and learning, and look forward to continuing to work with the Health Education England postgraduate schools and our local GP leaders to sustain and improve training at BHT. We expect regular reviews of progress to ensure we sustain the changes and meet the GMC requirements across the hospital.”

Professor Simon Gregory, Director of Education and Quality and Postgraduate Dean for Health Education East of England, said: “We are impressed with the Trust’s improvements. There has been a huge amount of work done by both the paediatric department and by the Trust Board. The consultant team has more than doubled, processes have improved and assurance is much stronger. We are confident that the Trust will meet the training standards required by the General Medical Council and we are looking forward to working with the Trust to return to training over the coming months.”

Dr Peter Wilkinson, Bedford GP and director of the local GP training scheme, said: “This is excellent news and means that from August, GP trainees will once again receive all their training locally.

“It is also a testament to the hard work and commitment of Bedford Hospital, Bedfordshire CCG, local GPs and local families. By working together we have ensured we have a much improved paediatric service.”