About South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT)
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) was rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission in 2020. It is the only trust in the Midlands, and one of only ten nationally to be ranked as outstanding. SWFT provides the hospital services to South Warwickshire from four hospitals: Warwick Hospital, Leamington Spa Hospital, Stratford Hospital, and Ellen Badger Hospital. The trust also delivers out-of-hospital community services to the whole of Warwickshire serving a population of more than half a million from various clinics.
Whilst the main training occurs at Warwick Hospital, there may be opportunities in community settings and in other satellite sites, which can be identified and signposted during the placement.
About the sites
The main site, Warwick Hospital, sits in the market town of the same name. A District General Hospital that offers placements in all areas of Internal Medicine including cardiology, respiratory, gastroenterology, endocrine and rheumatology. The vibrant Acute Medicine department prides itself on accessible ambulatory care, with abundant and accessible guidelines to support management of patients. The Care of the Elderly department is a dynamic team with a pioneering Frailty Assessment Area, which has been praised by Professor Martin Vernon, the National Clinical Director for Older People at NHS England, for its forward thinking approach to caring for frail patients. The Intensive Care is recognised for training by the Faculty for Intensive Care Medicine, and supports the hospital with a dynamic outreach support team, invaluable when looking after unstable patients on the wards.
The site has a restaurant serving hot food during the day and a chain coffee shop offering hot drinks, cakes and sandwiches open long hours during the day. Out of hours a comfortable doctors mess gives a place to relax with separate kitchen facilities.
What makes Warwick Hospital a good place to train?
The rota at Warwick Hospital is designed with trainees in mind. Rota gaps have often been quoted as the biggest cause of trainee dissatisfaction and poor mental health. To minimise this risk of rota gaps due to sickness or unexpected leave, Warwick Hospital builds “shadow shifts” in. These are paid shifts, where you are on standby from home to cover any last minute rota gaps. This adds a layer of confidence to the on-call shifts that if the unexpected happens, there will be someone ready to take over.
The on-call rota offers an unselected medical take with 24-hour consultant cover. Having timely consultant review promotes excellent patient care and also facilitates training by giving access to prompt feedback and allowing time for workplace based assessments such as ACATs and CBDs. There are opportunities to undertake supervised training on appropriate patients in procedures like pleural and ascitic taps and drains.
All trainees are encouraged and supported to attend clinics in the bustling outpatients department, with support from consultants, HR and the education department. For higher specialist trainees in addition to the unselected take there is opportunity to participate in taking specialist referrals from other teams in the hospital, aiding development of management skills required for consultant posts.
The endoscopy department welcomes Higher Specialist Trainees, and offers opportunities to train in skills such as bronchoscopy, upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy. Being a smaller site is advantageous in this respect as the friendly team are accessible and able to provide training opportunities which in a larger hospital would be missed.
There is a dedicated Skills Laboratory and an expanding Simulation Department. The following essential IMT skills covered in simulated clinical skills: CPR, pacing and defibrillation, chest drain insertion, pleural aspiration, central venous access and lumbar puncture. Multidisciplinary simulation is well established for the medical students, foundation doctors and allied healthcare professionals and this year we are pleased this will be expanded to provide simulation for the IMT trainees.
There are two Education Centres boasting a variety of facilities for large and small groups. All staff have access to the library facilities with 24 hour access and loans up 10 books with inter-hospital loans available. The proactive library team is keen to support QI and research projects by signposting resources and assisting in literature searches. There is also a dedicated Research Department and interested trainees can get involved in projects. A weekly Grand Round is well attended and offers regular opportunity for local presentation. Previous higher specialist trainees have designed, implemented and presented their Quality Improvement projects at Grand Round resulting in successful implementation of new initiatives such as an AKI Care Bundle, Weekend Hnadover and Pleural Procedures Grab Bag.
The Trust has a strong commitment to education and training of medical students, and was one of the first hospitals in the country to support medical student employment during the coronavirus pandemic. The trust supports Warwick Medical School (postgraduate entry) and the University of Buckingham Medical School (undergraduate entry). Opportunities for teaching are numerous as a result, and innovative teaching such as Virtual Ward Rounds, Escape Rooms and online seminars feature regularly in the calendars. Furthermore clinical examinations are carried out at Warwick, and for interested trainees there is the opportunity for training and experience in examination. For doctors with an interest in teaching, the trust sponsors modules as part of the Masters in Medical Education at the University of Warwick, and offer standalone Clinical Education Fellow posts which can be taken as out of programme experience. Furthermore the Clinical Education Fellows put on a free PACES course in preparation for the Royal College of Physician exam for trainee doctors at SWFT, which has previously been very popular.
Foundation Year 1 doctors are especially well supported in the trust with dedicated mentoring sessions, regular timetabled and protected R&R sessions plus opportunities for leadership, with encouragement to take on roles in managing the doctors mess.
Working at Warwick brings far more than the District General Hospital experience and the benefits to a smaller hospital should not be overlooked. The friendly community feel of the hospital promotes greater teamwork and shared opportunities; less competition for clinic space and easier access to procedural lists, more continuity with outpatients, and better working relationships with all members of staff. The hospital prides itself on equality and diversity, and openness to change evidenced by its monthly Innovation Forum open to all. Many trainees who rotate to Warwick return at a later date, citing the friendly culture and opportunities for development. Even something as mundane as the parking is often quoted by staff, you’ll always find a spot at Warwick!
Warwick is famous for its castle and historic charm. As well as a weekly farmers market, it offers a calendar of diverse events throughout the year, including the popular Folk Festival, Beer Festival, Thai festival and Literary Festivals, as well as the renowned Victorian Evening. A small town with a very strong community feel, Warwick is enriched with independent businesses and bustling café culture in the town centre. Local schools rank well nationally with one of the best primary schools in Warwickshire less than a mile from the hospital site. Warwick benefits from robust public transport links with trains to London in 90 minutes and Birmingham in half an hour. It offers a desirable mix of urban convenience and choice, with rural villages and rolling countryside for enjoyment.