County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest hospital and community healthcare providers in the NHS, serving a population of 650,000. We are proud to have a talented workforce of over 7,500 individuals who are passionate about being an integral part of the local communities they serve. With a mission to deliver safe, compassionate, and joined-up care, the Trust is dedicated to looking after its people and investing in them, research, facilities and estates.
In addition to our focus on patient care, the Trust also recognises the importance of looking after our won workforce. By investing in their development and well-being, the Trust ensures that its workforce remains motivated and committed to delivering exceptional care. This includes providing opportunities for professional growth, training, and support, as well as fostering a positive work environment.
The Trust also takes pride in its proactive Charity, which works tirelessly to raise funds for various projects and initiatives. These funds are used to enhance patient care, support research endeavours, and improve the overall experience for both patients and staff. The Charity’s dedication to making a difference in the lives of those in need is a testament to the Trust’s commitment to the community.
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 training at Country Durham and Darlington NHS Trust
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 saw 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.
Current and Future Developments
For the past five years, CDDFT has been a beacon of excellence in delivering community services. Our commitment to providing compassionate and joined-up care and dedication to patient well-being has resulted in the successful retention of the contract for another five years.
Recognising the importance of advanced surgical techniques, the Trust has invested in and opened a state-of-the-art laparoscopic theatre in Durham. This cutting-edge facility will enable surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures, leading to faster recovery times and improved patient outcomes. Additionally, the Trust has allocated millions of pounds to upgrade and enhance the theatres and estates at Darlington Memorial Hospital. These investments will ensure that patients receive the highest quality care in modern and well-equipped facilities.
In October 2022, the Trust introduced a new electronic patient record system, revolutionising the way care is delivered. This innovative technology will streamline processes, improve communication between healthcare professionals, and enhance patient safety. By having access to comprehensive and up-to-date patient information, clinicians will be able to provide more personalised and efficient care, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.
The Trust is also making significant strides in expanding its services to meet the growing needs of the community. Plans are underway for a new emergency department at Durham, which will provide state-of-the-art facilities and resources to deliver timely and effective emergency care. Additionally, the Trust is progressing plans for a new hospital in Derwentside, ensuring that residents have access to high-quality healthcare closer to home.
CDDFT has always recognised the importance of research and innovation in advancing healthcare. We continue to promote and perform well in these areas, contributing to the development of new treatments and improving patient outcomes. By fostering a culture of research and innovation, the Trust remains at the forefront of medical advancements, ensuring that patients receive the best possible care.
What our trainees say:
“The entire team from support staff to consultants are very supportive and approachable.”
“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.”