An innovative project which created a new NHS role of ‘doctors’ assistant’ has earned national recognition.
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne’s DGH, has been shortlisted into the final six for the prestigious national BMJ Award for Clinical Leadership.
The doctors’ assistant project will be show-cased soon in an edition of the British Medical Journal alongside the other shortlisted projects.
The doctors’ assistant project involves selecting, training and supporting staff to work under the direction of doctors, helping with admin and essential clinical tasks.
Nationally, audits show that doctors in training spend 50 percent of their time on admin tasks.
Six staff who had previously worked as a healthcare assistants in clinical areas across the trust, were selected and trained, with three working at Eastbourne DGH and three at Conquest Hospital.
Scarlett McNally, consultant orthopaedic surgeon who is running the project, said: “This is a real team approach.
“We selected six motivated and experienced staff.
“We ran a new intensive two week induction course and there are ongoing weekly tutorials to support the doctors’ assistants.
“We identified the key skills needed to help the busy doctors on the wards including admin and some clinical duties.
“The role has developed with positive feedback.
“We have built rotas including long shifts at weekends, when the doctors are often busiest that frees up the doctors to spend more time with patients.
“It is great to receive national recognition for this work.
“We are already sharing the details with other trusts across the UK.”
Barbara Gosden, head of clinical education said: “The project is very exciting it is enhancing patient experience with more doctor contact, and providing opportunity for staff development, and the doctors’ assistants report high level of job satisfaction.”
The team will present to the BMA at an event with the final winner to be announced in May.