Top marks for the trust

Clinical director for medicine Jean MacLeod.
Clinical director for medicine Jean MacLeod.

A HEALTH trust serving the people of Hartlepool and East Durham has been praised by a prestigious college for its excellence in handling exams.

The words of approval came from the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh which has praised the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

The thumbs-up was given for the way that the trust organised and run its PACES exams which are tests given to trainee doctors.

PACES tests incorporate both an exam of the candidate’s knowledge of basic medical sciences, and also tests their clinical skills.

The trust’s centre for examinations is so good it ranks 16th out of 257 centres across the UK and overseas.

The results were released after the centre examined more than 550 candidates, and was shown to have an impressive record, running tests three times a year.

Trainee physicians must pass the exam to be awarded Membership of the Royal College of Physicians.

The qualification is also needed so that they can then progress to their higher training.

The trust’s courses, facilities and administration team co-ordinate the examinations, with help from a number of consultant physicians.

Officials at the trust say the success of the exams is also down to the support and care offered by the nursing staff in the emergency assessment unit who help on the days.

In a letter to the trust’s clinical director for medicine, Jean MacLeod, the director of examinations Tom Mackay praised the trust’s contribution to the PACES exams over the last few years.

He wrote that the trust’s contribution to the way the exams had evolved was “considerable” and the trust was “guaranteed to provide an excellent and consistent examination environment”.

Jean said: “We are very proud of the high regard in which we are held by the Royal College of Physicians.

But she stressed that this was a team effort and many people deserved praise.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work of every member of staff involved, and, of course, the patients who make time to come and help us – it really has been a team effort.

“This contribution to the training and assessment of future consultants is a very important role for the trust that we will continue to support from medicine.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital and community based health care to around 365,000 people living in Hartlepool, East Durham and Stockton.