Introduction: ENT is an under-taught specialty at medical schools, with some even having completely removed it from the curriculum. This may have an impact on how doctors in the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department manage patients with ENT problems at first contact.
Method: Clinical audit. We assessed whether relevant interventions and appropriate management of patients had taken place prior to referring to ENT from A&E. Appropriate interventions were actioned based on the results of the first cycle of the audit and management was then re-audited, thus completing the audit cycle.
Results: Our results showed that 58.6% of referrals from A&E had satisfactory interventions and the rest needed further support, particularly pertaining to the circulation. A group-specific induction programme was implemented, involving a 2-hour lecture on common ENT emergencies and their management. On re-auditing, a significant improvement in the interventions started for patients prior to referral and thus an overall improvement in patient care was seen.
Conclusion: Junior doctors working in the A&E Department are usually the first contact in managing ENT patients despite lacking basic ENT knowledge. A group-specific induction programme is an effective way of addressing this deficit a safeguarding patient care.