Aims A serious incident (SI) can have devastating and far-reaching effects on everyone involved. Trainees at the coalface of service are likely to be named as being involved in SIs. Their experience of the investigation and the support they receive is very variable. We explored paediatric trainees’ experience of SIs and the perceived support available to them.
Methods A survey was distributed to paediatric trainees across the region. Trainees who had been involved in the SI process were differentiated from trainees who had no experience of SIs. Trainees who had been involved in SIs were asked about practical support with regard to statement writing and interviews as well as pastoral support. Questions for trainees who had no experience of SIs focussed on whom they would approach for support and their awareness of additional sources they could access.
Results 105 paediatric trainees responded to the survey. Trainees at all stages of their training had been involved in SIs. 45.5% (n = 48) of trainees had been involved in the SI process with 83% being required to write a statement and 18% being interviewed. The majority of trainees did not have written guidelines for statement writing or were aware of the interview process (71% and 56% respectively). 36% of trainees reported receiving no support at all following an SI. Only 25% were offered support most commonly by the departmental consultant or their educational supervisor.
Of those with no experience of SIs, 87% were not aware of any local guidelines. Only 60% of trainees reported knowing who to seek support from with the majority identifying their education supervisor as providing this. 100% of trainees would value written guidelines.
Conclusion Involvement in a SI can be a distressing experience. Trainees are unaware of guidelines or templates for writing statements and find themselves without clearly identified lines of support during this difficult process. A regional document has been created containing vital information about the SI process including what happens to all the information once it is gathered. Importantly, contact details and information about recommended external sources of support are listed.
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