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ABMU cardiology training is ‘best in UK’

Monday, 14 January 2013
Junior doctors have ranked ABMU cardiology training as the best in the UK.
A General Medical Council survey of cardiology training at specialist registrar level - across 64 UK centres - revealed ABMU as the doctors’ favourite.
ABMU scored very highly for “overall satisfaction with the training programme”; “clinical supervision of trainees”, “feedback” and high for “local teaching”. It was the only centre to achieve this very positive response, giving it first place ranking.
One of the junior doctors who took part in the survey, Morriston Hospital-based Dewi Thomas, said:
“There is a friendly and supportive atmosphere which is conductive to education, training and personal development. The rota is well organised, and offers considerable exposure to procedural training.
“Importantly, also, a team-based system of working has been retained which provides clear mentorship and continuity of care. This definitely enhances job satisfaction.”
Another junior doctor, Carey Edwards, added:
“Since moving back home to Wales in 2009 to join the all Wales cardiology training programme I have worked within ABMU.  I have worked at all three sites that provide cardiac care. 
“The cardiology departments have a progressive environment constantly striving to improve the service that they provide which actively encourages our development.  Senior colleagues are supportive, knowledgeable and willing to spend time to nurture our development as cardiologists. 
“The regional Cardiac Centre at Morriston Hospital has provided me with excellent exposure to all major subspecialties within the specialty and an enviable environment in which to learn as well as opportunity to develop a specialist interest and conduct novel research.”
Trainees are able to learn about leading-edge procedures including Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (Primary PCI), which is a powerful intervention to save the life of a seriously unwell heart-attack patient.
A blocked blood vessel causing the heart attack is re-opened with small tubes passed from the artery in the wrist or leg to the blood vessels supplying the heart. Slender wires are then passed through the blood clot. The blood clot is often sucked out to restore blood flow to the heart.

The vessel is then dilated with a balloon, and a metal scaffold called a stent is implanted into the blood vessel to keep it open. Consequently there is less damage to the heart, a quicker recovery from the heart attack and a better outcome in the longer term for the patient.
They also learn procedures like cardiac ablation, where small areas of the heart are destroyed to correct heart rhythm problems; and skills fitting pacemakers and other cardiac devices.
Consultant Cardiologist James Barry said the team was absolutely thrilled to have been ranked No.1 for training. He explained there were nine training posts in Morriston and a further two in both Singleton and the Princess of Wales hospitals, making 13 in total.
“We perform about 450 Primary PCIs a year, making us one of the busiest centres in the UK, and 1,300 PCIs overall. This provides a large volume for training. Trainees also gain experience in complex cardiac device implantation and management (150 a year), and cardiac ablation (100 a year) for arrhythmias and complex cardiac imaging.
“In addition to busy outpatients and cardiology-on-call, the trainees are able to learn techniques in a regional centre that they would not be able to outside of it. There is also training in a regional inherited cardiac conditions clinic and a pulmonary hypertension clinic.”
Bruce Ferguson, ABMU’s Medical Director, said:
“We are delighted with this achievement. Achieving No.1 ranking is no mean feat. The cardiac team is to be congratulated for providing such a positive and forward-looking environment for doctors to learn new skills.”