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Training of senior house officers

  • Oliver White (a1)
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Abstract
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Department of Health (2002) Unfinished Business Proposals for Reform of Senior House Officer Grade. A Paper for Consultation. London: Department of Health.
Mayor, S. (2005) UK surgeons report that EU directive has cut training time. BMJ, 330, 499.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Training of senior house officers

  • Oliver White (a1)
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eLetters

European Working Time Directive regulations - Not necessarily detrimental to SHO training.

Partha Gangopadhyay, Senior House Officer
02 August 2005

I agree partially with Dr White’s observations regarding the impact of European Working Time Directive regulations on SHO training. The introduction of first-line psychiatric nursing teams has indeed prevented SHOs dealing with each patient presenting out-of hours. However in an increasingly dynamic atmosphere of multi-disciplinary working and skill sharing this is not necessarily harmful. The input from another professional can be actually beneficial in implementing key decisions regarding management plans and risk assessment.

I am currently working in a London mental health unit with a 24 hourswalk-in clinic. After the duty worker’s (who is usually a psychiatric nurse but is also often a social worker) initial assessment when it is felt that the patient requires any psychiatrist input, the on-call SHO is always informed and the appropriate treatment plan is devised. This rangesfrom the SHO actually interviewing the patient to advice over the telephone as deemed necessary. From my personal experience I have found that my nursing and social worker colleagues are often more well-informed about important aspects of patient care including housing, provision for drug and addiction services and social care issues. Policies can also be devised ensuring SHO participation in management of acute psychiatric patients is adequately maintained while retaining involvement of other professionals.

A significant time during the SHO on-call hours is devoted to non-urgent work, such as the rewriting of prescriptions and charting of medication especially during weekends. The European Working Time Directiveregulations has led to reduced access of SHOs to clinical supervision and training opportunities. Hence one plausible solution might be in delegating non-urgent tasks during on-call hours and utilise the resultanttime for training. The exact details for the provision of this will need coordination between SHOs, their educational supervisors and the duty workers. This though seems difficult is not impossible to achieve and might lead to the most appropriate time-utilisation schedules for the future trainee SHOs.
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