Hull’s first Chief Registrar takes up his post

Hull’s first Chief Registrar has been appointed to empower the city’s junior doctors to improve patient safety at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has created the role of Chief Registrar to provide a link between its senior leadership team, managers and its doctors in training.

Dr Alexander McNeil, a paediatrician entering his eighth year of training as a junior doctor, said: “We are aiming to transform the culture of how we approach patient safety.

“In the past, junior doctors felt that they receive very little feedback when they report near misses or patient safety incidents at hospitals. They fill in forms but it can be some time before they receive any feedback.

“We will be changing our approach so our staff feel more engaged and are confident that they will have real input into any lessons we need to learn.”

The Chief Registrar role was one of the recommendations in the Future Hospital Commission report, established by the Royal College of Physicians in 2012 to ensure patients receive safe, high-quality care.

Dr McNeil, who studied medicine at Hull York Medical School and has worked at the trust since 2012, is one of 71 registrars working for 43 NHS organisations in the country.

He will spend two days a week in the role supported by Chief Medical Officer Dr Makani Purva. The rest of his working week will be devoted to clinical duties at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital and in the children’s ward and High Dependency Unit on the 13th floor of Hull Royal Infirmary.

Dr Alex McNeil

One of his first tasks since taking up the role in August has been to look at how the trust records patient safety data and delivers feedback to staff when patients have been at risk of harm.

Dr McNeil said: “We know staff are trying to help patients but we know mistakes and near misses happen. The fact remains that around one in 10 patients come to harm in the NHS.

“One of our initial findings is that people find it difficult to complete the forms but how can we improve patient safety if we don’t know it’s happening in the first place?

“I will be looking to change how we approach patient safety so staff  feel more engaged and that they are able to see valuable changes in practice based on their participation.”

Dr McNeil, who has been touring the trust to introduce himself to the junior doctors on the wards, clinics and departments, also aims to improve feedback following patient safety issues.

He said: “If an error happens or we prevent a near miss, we need to give immediate feedback to the whole team in a way that allows lessons to be learned. We want staff to feel like they have ownership and can learn from it.

“It is my aim to ensure staff have the resources, energy and enthusiasm to become part of the learning process.”