Policy on observers

The Trust receives frequent requests from people wishing to observe clinical practice in the Trust. The following is a corporate policy and procedure for handling such requests. The aims are to ensure that:

  • patient safety, security and confidentiality are maintained;
  • the individual concerned is aware of the limits of the observer/attachment status;
  • the Trust's obligations to such visitors (such as health and safety) are met.

The cost for a clinical attachment or observership with the RNOH is £150 per week, payable in advance.

This policy applies to any medically qualified individual who wishes to, or is invited to, observe clinical work within the Trust.

It includes

  • Qualified overseas doctors not yet registered with the GMC who wish to undertake a clinical attachment for a period, usually to learn how medicine is practised in the UK prior to taking the PLAB test.
  • Qualified overseas doctors who, in the view of the supervising consultant, would benefit from a clinical attachment.

It does not include:

  • Visiting medical staff. Doctors acting in a supernumerary capacity to treat certain patients, or to carry out clinical research or to be trained in certain procedures. Such doctors are required to be appropriately registered with the GMC and requests are considered under the procedure for honorary clinical contracts.
  • Non-medical observers. There is a separate procedure for non-medical observers available from the Human Resource Department.

All requests must be supported by an RNOH "sponsor" who will be a named consultant under whose supervision the observer will be throughout their stay in the Trust. The sponsor will be responsible for ensuring that the conditions for observation are adhered to and for determining the degree of supervision required.

Overseas qualified doctors will need to provide a CV and evidence that their medical qualifications are registerable with the GMC.

Observers must have appropriate occupational health clearance prior to starting in the Trust, particularly with regard to Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B.

All Observers must confirm that their immigration status allows them to undertake the attachment.

Written authorisation from the Trust must be given before the period of observation starts.

Conditions for Observers
(i) Supervision

An observer will be under the supervision of a named consultant and will be required to abide any directions which he/she or anyone acting on his/her behalf may make.

(ii) Patient Access

Observers must not take part in any procedure involving patients, including ordering tests, taking specimens, obtaining or witnessing signatures for consent.

Observers must not advise Trust staff on the treatment of patients, teach clinical procedures, carry out research or assist with laboratory work.

Observers will not normally be permitted to visit other departments except for appropriate attachments where agreed in advance with the supervising consultant and other consultant staff (in the department to be visited).

Observers must comply with the Trust's policy on patient confidentiality and respect patients' cultural needs. They will be advised of the requirement for the patient's prior informed consent and right to decline to be observed.

Observers must be readily identifiable and as such provided with suitable ID.

(iii) Compliance with Policies and Procedures

Observers will be required to comply with the Trust's policies and procedures as appropriate including equal opportunities, alcohol and no smoking.

Observers will be included in the Trust's responsibilities to those on its premises under health and safety legislation. An observer will be required to co-operate with managers in discharging the Trust's responsibilities and to take reasonable care for the health and safety of him/herself and others.

Any event of misconduct or poor performance by an observer may result in the termination of the attachment. In cases of alleged serious misconduct the observer will be required to leave Trust premises pending investigation.

(iv) Trust Benefits

An attachment does not confer or imply employment with the Trust or the provision of service to the Trust in either a substantive or honorary capacity.

An observer will not be entitled to any remuneration from the Trust.

Observers will be covered by the Trust's public liability indemnity. However, the Trust will accept no responsibility for loss or damage of personal property.

Period of Attachment
Most attachments will be short, lasting up to a month. Longer attachments may be agreed with regard to other educational commitments, such as medical students and the support and supervision likely to be required.

Observers will first need to complete an application for clinical attachment and send it to the Consultant they wish to be attached to.

The Consultant will then complete Section B of the application form and return it to the Medical Staffing Department with a copy of the observer's CV and other details as required.

Medical Staffing will check credentials, obtain occupational health clearance, send written details to the observer and authorise their ID badge. The payment of £150 per week must be made in advance of the start date of the attachment.

Related Documents:Size
Application for Clinical Attachment or Observership166 KB
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