9 October 2012
The Welsh government should listen to doctors on the frontline if it wants to recruit more of them, BMA Cymru Wales has said.
BMA Welsh junior doctors committee chair Dai Samuel was responding to a warning by the Wales Deanery that there was a recruitment crisis of doctors in hospital specialties.
Wales Deanery subdean for quality Sian Lewis said: ‘It’s extremely urgent. A recruitment crisis means we’re struggling to deliver adequate training and also services are often very, very close to the edge of coping.
‘Our doctors work hard, but clearly if we reach a point that we’re unable to resolve our recruitment problems units would have to close unexpectedly.’
A report by the deanery and the GMC, alongside a survey of junior doctors by the GMC, also revealed shortages of doctors.
Junior doctors across Wales’s health boards reported weaknesses in training opportunities and patient safety issues.
Dr Samuel said the report and survey did not offer any new surprises and revealed the pressures on junior doctors.
Major incident threat
He said: ‘It’s a matter of time before some major incidents happen. In Wales, [emergency department] rotas have been struggling for years, particularly in paediatrics and psychiatry, and it’s partly being politically driven.
‘The BMA has been saying this for years.’
He added: ‘Were it not for the goodwill of doctors, helping each other out, the vast majority of rotas, surgical and medical, would fall apart at the seams. It’s a matter of time before some major incidents happen.’
Dr Samuel said he would welcome some new initiatives from the Welsh government.
He added: ‘Why don’t we stop trying to reinvent the wheel and start listening to those on the frontline?’
A Welsh government spokesperson said the GMC trainee survey revealed a higher rate of satisfaction from junior doctors in Wales when compared to the UK average and that the majority of issues in the survey had been resolved.