Working practices have had to change at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust after complaints were made of a bullying culture, with trainees made to work long hours and carry out tasks beyond their abilities, while getting very little support from on-call consultants.

When the complaints were followed up by West Midlands Deanery, all the junior doctors involved said they would not recommend training at the trust to anybody and would not want to be a consultant there.

After the investigation, the trust announced that it had started to hold better team briefings, take on more consultants, and give trainees extra time for pre-operative assessments.

The trust’s chief executive Julia Bridgewater told the Health Service Journal: “The deanery report highlighted some issues. As a result we had external support to help us work through them and significant progress has been made. A re-visit has shown most of the issues have now been resolved.

“We have met both trainees and consultants and conveyed our need to be flexible for our patients’ sake. We have to balance the needs of patients against the need to train doctors.”