Estimates suggest that 6% of doctors in the hospital workforce may be performing below the standard that is expected of them at any time.
While serious cases will see doctors struck off, there are others where a doctor could benefit from help via a process called remediation.
Dr Nicola Brennan from the University of Plymouth is leading a review (known as the RESTORE review) to explore if and how remediation programmes work for practicing doctors and – as training a doctor costs around £500,000 to the UK taxpayer – how these processes might be improved in order to retain talent, save money for the NHS and restore patient safety.
The study, which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and supported by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC), will take the form of a realist review; building a model, known as a ‘programme theory’, that will show how remediation should work and why in some situations it does not.
This model will then be tested and retested using data from studies already available so that the final product is a best-fit theory that can be used to guide policy and practice.