23 June 2015

Great Expectations

Joint Monitoring visit to UHCW

By Alan Kan, MB ChB student

We live in a time of digital media and high speed connectivity. The ideas of an individual can quickly become the knowledge of the masses, and the voice of the quiet minority can be amplified through all levels of society. It is through such a medium whereby the intricacies of complicated processes can be better understood, hopefully through a transparent lens.

The new curriculum is now ending its second year, and within the melting pot of student emotions are those of the 1st years, currently sitting their summative examinations. Ahead of them is the prospect to mingle, learn, and work within the frontline of the NHS, alongside the professionals who are dedicated to patient care.

Whilst the students receive some guidance on what to learn, how can there be reassurance that consultants and others are following the curriculum and offering high quality teaching, whilst also supporting Joe/Jane Blogg’s growth in confidence and competency as an aspiring doctor?

One of the ways in which this happens is through a regular process of monitoring and review of education delivered in the Trusts.  In the past, this was done by a visiting Panel from the Medical School.  This year, at Warwick, the process changed to amalgamate the quality monitoring visits done by the medical school and the team from Health Education West Midlands, who routinely look at education for foundation year doctors – known as the Joint Monitoring Visit Panel.

What is the Joint Monitoring Visit (JMV) process?

  • Key aspects of the hospital were analysed in relation to these areas of education, such as: patient safety; finance distribution; future goals of the hospital as a leading teaching hospital; foundation doctor education, and critically for me – medical student education.
  • Q&A sessions were held with a various groups of people at the hospital: consultants; students; foundation doctors; managing staff and clinicians.
  • Aims to improve the services and provisions offered at the hospital, working with them to achieve and exceed the status quo.

So, what was my role?

  • Student representative on the Panel which visited UHCW
  • Involved in open discussion forums, alongside other committee members, with the various groups to discover what was working and what improvements could be implemented in the future – particularly constructive and positive adjustments to improve the student experience.
There was great turnout from some groups we invited to participate in JMC discussions; from senior management (CEO, medical director, clinical director, managers and co-ordinators); Undergraduate and postgraduate academic/education teams; foundation year 1 & 2 trainees; and teaching fellows, specialist nurses and trust consultants involved in clinical education supervision. All were enthusiastic to give their views on the trust, aspirations and improvements that could be implemented in the future.

It was, however, disheartening to see that there were not so many current medical students involved on the day. The reasons for this could not have been more concerning: 3rd year students were on electives, and 4th years studying for their finals – perhaps the arrangements of such an important meeting should have been considered for those mentioned? It was, however, fantastic that medical school had arranged to meet 2nd year students before the JMV, to gain feedback on what was going well and what needed changing to enhance the student experience at UHCW.

I entered the process with the belief that education at any teaching hospital will always have room for improvement, regardless of how fantastic they may be. To push the boundaries further with intentions to benefit all who visit, in whatever capacity, can rarely be considered a negative thing, right?!

It is, therefore, a reassuring sign that Warwick Medical School (and its partners of Health Education West Midlands) are committed to ensuring students are obtaining the most from teaching hospitals, such as University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, by involving students in the JMV process.

Student involvement and contribution in such important procedures indicates to the rest of the student body that the veil which hides so many intricacies in managerial decisions in the medical school (and teaching hospital) is slowly being lifted; in the process building the tentative steps towards greater transparency which will undoubtedly better the growth and development of these students.

We can only wait and see if the recommended improvements can bring a lasting benefit to those using the facilities for education. In the meantime, greater effort must be made in ensuring administrative processes at the medical school (and teaching hospital) are more transparent; so those who are affected by sweeping changes can have a greater say in these organisations’ remodelling and redevelopment.

A message from Lesley
This edition of the Medical Education blog is written by fellow MB ChB student Alan Kan who participated in the recent monitoring visit to UHCW. Alan provides some interesting observations about being involved as a panel member at such an event and explains the purpose and methods of such visits which are an important element of education quality assurance.

Joint visits from medical schools and the West Midlands Deanery have only recently been introduced and this was the first such joint visit for Warwick Medical School. Similar visits to other hospitals will be occurring next year and I hope Alan’s blog inspires others to get involved.

I note Alan’s concerns around the lack of representation from year 3 and 4 students which was unfortunate and unavoidable given the timing of this visit which coincided with electives and final year examinations (which are fully understandably your priorities!). Hopefully such clashes can be avoided going forward so that we maximise your opportunity to input.

For those of you shortly moving to pastures new I wish you the very best for the future and for those of you staying with us I hope the weather warms up soon and you have a chance for some summertime fun.

Best wishes


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you for your hard work Alan. The time of this meeting was very disappointing. Involvement for 3rd and 4th year students is crucial. They are the only groups who have significant exposure to other hospital sites and have seen best practice (or indeed lack there of)