County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) is one of the largest hospital and community healthcare providers in the NHS, serving a core population of approximately 600,000 people across County Durham and Darlington, together with patients and service users from further a field in North Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and South Tyneside. We are also one of the largest employers in County Durham, with approximately 7,000 staff as well as 11,000 Trust members who have a say in how we operate.


1. Darlington Memorial Hospital

2. University Hospital of North Durham




Trainee forums are used to seek local feedback, to ensure that the life of trainees at CDDFT is in a safe and supportive environment.

Medical Education is led by a number of consultants within our Trust, a strong team of teachers and experienced and well qualified support staff headed by a Director of Medical Education and Director of Undergraduate Medical Education.  Their roles and responsibilities include faculty development and support as well as organisation of undergraduate and postgraduate education and the development of our training faculty, including our simulation faculty for our new state of the art simulation centre.

We have strong links with the University of Newcastle for medical students on placement from the Base Units of the Tees and Wear within the Medical School, with approximately 600 students rotating through the Trust annually. 

We have excellent links with other Trusts within the Northern Region for specialty rotations and Health Education England - North East (HEE NE) in Newcastle with the support of the Postgraduate Dean.

We train 120 foundation doctors in F1 & F2 with Foundation Tutors and Foundation Programme Nurse Teaching Fellow employed to support trainees across all specialties and sites. We pride ourselves in the 1:1 support given to all trainees to successfully achieve ARCP competencies.

Specialty trainees work within our Trust in many areas, at both core and higher training levels. Trainees give feedback via the GMC survey, and trainee forums are used to seek further local feedback, to ensure that the life of trainees at CDDFT is in a safe and supportive environment. Tutors are employed to work across specialties with the care groups and work with college tutors to ensure that clinical and educational supervision is of a good standard, that rotas are compliant and that trainees work in a safe and supported environment.

Undergraduate and postgraduate medical training is embedded into the clinical work of the Trust, and is an integral part of key management decisions within clinical areas.

CDDFT has a Clinical Simulation Centre which is located at Bishop Auckland General Hospital. This is a state of the art facility where Sim Man, Sim Mum, Sim Junior and Sim Baby high-fidelity manikins have been installed in the main Simulation Suite in addition to ancillary equipment to create an effective, immersive simulation environment.


The centre is used for inter-professional simulation and human factors training and there are various Clinical Skills drop in sessions arranged through-out the year for the Foundation Programme and training specifically designed for higher specialty trainees, as well as ALS, ILS and NLS.  The Centre is staffed by a Consultant Lead, a Clinical Nurse Teaching Fellow, and a Simulation Clinical Teaching Fellow who is appointed annually.


Our debrief room is equipped with the latest in Smartboard technology to enhance high quality debrief of clinical scenarios. Our intention is to be imaginative and proactive in creating the highest quality educational experiences for our staff. We will be working together with our Centre for Research and Innovation to push the boundaries of Simulation Based Education.


CDDFT provide employees and LET trainees with free access to UpToDate.  UptoDate is a dynamic electronic resource providing evidence-based, synthesized medical information which is written and peer-reviewed by 3,800 leading doctors from the UK and worldwide.


CDDFT uses Employee Online, an integrated electronic roster and leave request system, accessible from any device with an internet connection.   Viewing your live personal roster and the whole team roster allows you to request leave from home with the knowledge of which colleagues are also on leave or on site.  Leave requests are actioned quickly as there is no need for paper forms and you have already checked staffing levels.   Swaps are made easy by identifying any colleagues who are able to swap with you, no more trying to catch everyone.    Your roster can also link with you and/or your partner’s smart phone calendars making it easier to organise your personal and working life.  Employee online is an intuitive system with little to no training required.”


An initiative by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised with an award at the International Rapid Response Systems Conference in Manchester.  The Acute Intervention Team is a new approach to providing round-the-clock rapid response care for the sickest hospital patients. It is the first time nurses and health care assistants have been brought together in a team trained by specialist consultants, and provide support to ward staff in providing greater expertise in caring for deteriorating patients.


The team is made up of Advanced Nurse Practitioners and HCAs who function as 24/7 primary responders to assess, treat, prescribe and plan care for patients subject to Medical Emergency Team (MET) calls or identified through Electronic Observations (NEWS).  The team integrate with all ward/parent/on-call teams ensuring complementary skills are available 24/7 and support the delivery of appropriate Consultant-led care.  


The team provide a readily available resource of specialist advice and support for all junior doctors in all specialties, 24/7 to include task-orientated training opportunities for junior doctors when daytime teams are not available.


October 2018 will see our first group of Physician Associates appointed to support doctors in Clinical Areas. Paediatrics UHND, Acute Medicine UHND, General Surgery DMH and Orthopaedic Surgery DMH will have permanent Physician Associates working on the wards and within clinical areas. 

Medical training at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust




In April 2018 the decision was made by the three local clinical commissioning groups to award the new adult community services contract to CDDFT.  Transformation of community services will be a key focus during 2018/19 and will afford us all a great opportunity to work differently with our health and social care partners – GPs, the voluntary sector and our local authorities – to bring real improvements to both patient care and the overall health and wellbeing of our local communities.


Work has recently been completed on six new state of the art operating theatres at Darlington Memorial Hospital and patients are now benefiting from what are amongst the most modern surgical theatres in the UK.  Over 10,000 patients have a procedure at Darlington each year, in a range of specialties including: ear, nose and throat; ophthalmology; general surgery and gynaecology. Most of these procedures are planned but there are also daily emergency lists. The new facilities will also make it easier for surgeons to adopt new techniques in the future. We are now upgrading our existing theatres which will open later in 2018 giving us a total of 10 state of the art theatres. We’re finding that having some of the very best surgical facilities is already attracting excellent staff that are keen to work in such a great environment.


Trust has been using digital solutions effectively across a number of services for several years, combining the clinical expertise of medical and other healthcare professionals with technology developed by Harrogate-based digital health specialists, Inhealthcare Limited.  This successful and award-winning collaboration led us to establish Healthcall Solutions Limited in 2017 to further develop the use of digital technology. In a bold move, the Trust has now awarded shares in the company to neighbouring NHS acute trusts in return for active participation and collaboration in the development and sharing of a wide range of digital health pathways.


CDDFT is moving towards electronic patient records (EPR).  EPR will give us access to all historical patient assessments and remind us when an assessment is due, or not completed.  It will also upload patient observations when they are taken and push results from diagnostic tests automatically to the person who ordered them. Essentially an EPR will give us improved information technology supporting simpler and better processes, thereby giving clinicians more time to care for patients.


We have opened new state-of-the-art MRI scanners at Bishop Auckland and Darlington Memorial Hospital and have Proposals to build a new Emergency Care Centre at Durham.

What our trainees say:

The entire team from support staff to consultants are very supportive and approachable.

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Exceptionally friendly hospitals, well supported by peers and nursing staff.  The medical education team have been fantastic and supportive.

You receive excellent support from senior staff members during difficult situations.

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