Thursday, 3 March 2011

Clinical governance

I've just started working in a new NHS Foundation Trust. Last night I was on-call. During my on-call I got summoned to a ward and told by the nurses to do something - something both illegal and likely to have me up in front of the GMC - 'not bloody likely' I said, 'but it's trust policy they whined'. Eventually they called in the on-call consultant, who wouldn't do it either.

'Silly nurses' I thought, 'policy indeed!' Now, officially, I'm supposed to have read all 30 of the clinical policies (and the other non-clinical ones too), I've never had the time set aside to do this but the trust have told me to do it so that's their arse covered. They're each 20+ pages long and written in a dreary bureaucratic speak that makes it impossible to easily extract the approximately one line that is actually relevant to clinical practice.

Having a few minutes of downtime I thought I'd check the relevant policy, and sure enough, there it was, an explicit instruction that in these circumstances a doctor should do something both illegal and likely to get them struck off. I looked at who wrote the policy, a nurse and an admin person (sorry, 'organisational risk lead'), no doctors seem to have been involved.

So, feeling like a good little boy, I contacted the 'Risk & Clinical Governance Department' to point out this gross oversight - 'oh yeah, someone mentioned something similar in 2008 but the policy isn't up for review until 2012 so we'll take a look at it again then'. Fantastic.


teekblog said...

luck you had your wits about you - wonder how many people would have just followed 'trust policy' and landed themselves in hot water...?

pj said...

Well, from asking around, a few people had done the same as me - luckily on this particular issue anyone who has worked in another trust (which would be everyone doing SHO jobs) will have come across the right way to do it, it's also something taught at medical school - funnily enough the consultant only didn't do it due to a technicality which is quite worrying.

What worries me is the policies that I don't know about which are illegal or at least very poor practice that I've got less familiarity with.

Dr Ruth Livingstone said...

hmm, interesting. Can you tell us a bit more?

pj said...

I could, but I'm not going to because I'm a junior doctor - see the post below.