Trust is top at putting junior doctors through their PACES

Posted on in Awards, The trust

The Tees valley’s biggest hospital has been recognised as one of the leading UK centres in creating the “next generation” of senior NHS doctors.

Dr Hamad (centre) with Prof Andrew Elder, Medical Director MRCP (UK) and the Trust’s Medical Director for Specialist Care Dr Mike Stewart

Dr Mahir Hamad, Consultant Physician and Clinical Director for Acute Medicine, is to receive a prestigious award recognising South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s achievement in enabling 270 junior doctors each year to take a vital clinical practice exam at The James Cook University Hospital.

This makes the Middlesbrough hospital one of the “flagship centres” for providing the Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination (PACES) exam, on behalf of the Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom MRCP (UK).

The exam is the final stage which sees junior doctors progress in their career to registrar level, following four years of clinical practice after graduation.

Dr Hamad said: “We are now recognised as one of the biggest providers of the PACES exam, which is the vital final stage for junior doctors progressing to registrar level.

“Registrars are vital to the running of all NHS trusts, so by providing the opportunity to take this examination in Middlesbrough, we are helping to create the next generation of these vital senior doctors and benefitting the health service across the country.”

Dr Hamad explained that in the past three years, the Middlesbrough hospital has increased the number of PACES examination candidates taking the exam on site by as much as 50%.

As a result, after taking over the running of the examinations three years ago, he has been named the recipient of the inaugural UK PACES Champion Award.

In a letter notifying him of the honour, Professor Andrew Elder, Medical Director of MRCP (UK) writes: “You have gone above and beyond expectations to ensure regular candidate spaces are provided to UK trainees by developing a high capacity PACES centre at The James Cook University Hospital.”

The letter, which is also signed by Dr Ken Dagg, Associate Medical Director for Clinical Examinations, also praises “very positive” and “complimentary” feedback from visiting examiners.

It also states “the excellent standards” Dr Hamad and his team regularly deliver has seen The James Cook University Hospital become “one of the flagship centres for MRCP (UK)” and “a great example to other host examiners.”

Dr Hamad was keen to acknowledge the overall “team effort” in achieving this recognition for the organisation.

He said: “Increasing the number of PACES candidates that take the examination here has been a team effort and we have been providing the examinations at the hospital for 15 years now. I will accept this award as recognition for the team as a whole, not just for me as a personal accolade.

“It would not be possible to have achieved this without the input of numerous other consultants and staff from the South Tees Institute for Learning Research and Innovation (LRI), who are responsible for ensuring the exams run smoothly. It is very nice for all the consultants involved and the LRI to receive this recognition.”