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Innovative Initiative makes Junior Doctors More Confident Prescribers

In a first for the North West region, junior doctors starting their training at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) have taken part an innovative initiative aimed to make them more confident at prescribing medication to patients.

The Foundation Year 1 trainees, who began their first training rotation officially on 2 August, volunteered in their own time to take part in the ePIFFany programme, which stands for Effective Prescribing Insight for the Future. The aim of the pioneering approach to training is to improve the skills, knowledge, performance, competence and safety of junior doctors to avoid prescribing errors.

The junior doctors, many of whom have undertaken no clinical work for two or three months since graduating, took part in a number of simulations including a man showing symptoms of having been poisoned. They were then given 10 minutes to prepare a mock handover to a consultant or registrar. Over the next four weeks, they will each also have four 30 minute face-to-face debrief sessions with a member of the clinical team to talk about the patient simulations and will receive podcasted material to support their learning.

The programme was initially developed by the University of Leicester in collaboration with Health Education England East Midlands and was pioneered at Leicester General Hospital and Boston Pilgrim Hospital. It was adopted by WWL after its potential was spotted by Chief Pharmacist Mike Parks because the rate of prescribing errors among junior doctors who undertook ePIFFany was reduced by 50%. This was an improvement equivalent to an extra 12 months of clinical experience and increased their satisfaction, wellbeing and self-confidence.

WWL Pharmacist Simon Langridge, who designed the training to make it applicable to the Trust, said: “It supports junior doctors in prescribing competence and confidence in their first and second years of training. It is simulated training rather than sit down teaching so is much more relevant. Usually the training is for certain specialities but the Trust felt prescribing competence is so important to give the junior doctors confidence that they have implemented it across the board.

“Hopefully, as the Foundation  Year 1 junior doctors been in the Trust ahead of their official start date, it will also help them to alleviate some of those first day nerves so they can hit the ground running.

“This will underpin the ongoing programme of pharmacy training provided at WWL, which has been developed and supported by Foundation Programme Director Harry Chan and the staff of the Education Centre.”