There is little doubt that this winter has exposed the tremendous, unsustainable pressures bearing down on our NHS.
The plain facts are distressing. At the end of last month, 55,000 operations were cancelled at short notice and in the first week in January 17,000 patients were reported to have been left waiting in ambulances outside hospitals. According to a BMA survey, GP practices and their staff are being forced into considering the serious step of closing their practice lists to new patients in order to maintain safe, effective services to those already under their care. And in adult and social care, a BMA investigation found that eight NHS Trusts in London had a combined shortfall of £238 million in their budgets for this vital sector which delivers support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Most importantly, these pressures are no longer a winter phenomenon; they exist year-round, a fact the BMA has highlighted consistently and vocally. It is important that the true extent of these pressures and the impact they have on doctors is brought fully into the public focus - even more so in the aftermath of the Dr Bawa-Garba ruling.
We have therefore launched a new NHS Pressures Portal allowing doctors to record their day-to-day experiences of working in a system under extreme pressure. This will give the BMA the evidence it needs of the impact on staff and patients resulting from woefully inadequate funding, poor workforce planning and increasing workload. This is vital in ensuring governments, regulators and policy makers realise the real extent of the crisis affecting every corner of the NHS.
Alongside the portal, new resources such as the BMA’s winter pressure hub provide the latest news on system wide strains, while we have released new guidance for doctors suffering from fatigue and burnout. Our Doctors for Doctors service remains a vital resource for those under a strain.
Ultimately the purpose behind these tools and resources is simple. It is to both support hard working doctors on the frontline and create a clear understanding amongst governments across the UK that the pressures on the NHS cannot be allowed to continue.
We must work together – patients, doctors and politicians - to reshape the NHS so that it becomes a collaborative and supportive environment that enables doctors to provide the best possible care to the public.
Please share your experiences by using this portal and give a real voice to the challenges all doctors face every day in the NHS.
Chaand Nagpaul is chair of BMA council
As a GP in the NHS i am both glad and saddened that its had to come to this for relevant folks to "wake up" and realise that we are and have being given less and less time to care for our patients.And when things go wrong we get compared to the super resourced,rested and properly manned airline industry,what laughable matter indeed-and thats putting it mildly!
A case in point, and in my view a great "falsehood perpetuated", is us GPs get given 10 minutes to consult safely and in keeping with the so called Good Medical Practice, in that 10mins we need to take a history,examine, ask about ideas,concerns and expectation, formulate a plausible working hypothesis, manage drug interactions and contraindications, deal with emotion, document properly, arrange tests and often deal with a second issue!
Should the reasonable public or jury expect us to then not make mistakes? Indeed they wouldn't and certainly shouldnt have such an expectation one will argue,unless we want to pander to populist views!
I hope something real and tangible ,like the truth comes out of all this, because the truth indeed is in exile colleagues.
I invite you to listen to this very short clip from a great movie A few Good men,and whereas i disagree with a number of things Jack said and did in that movie there is iron in the words of Jack Nicholson when he says " do you want the truth"?
Can we get some assurances that our entries will not be used against us in a court of law, just as hadiza's reflections were used against her? Are they totally anonymous?
No! We cannot be sure that anything on the internet or social media is now safe from the prying GMC eyes!
I need an explicit statement from the BMA. If they do not swear that this information is safe from the GMC, then I can only conclude they know that after making a faux-outrage statement about Dr hadiza's reflections being used against her, they know that we will not "raise our concerns". I used the air force to raise them to the folk in the clouds the last time, but I have been told they have changed address and I need to contact NASA if I want to send anything to Lala land.
GP practises seem unable to deal with cases of trauma and neglect. Having suffered both for 15 years as a child then having no specialist care, instead having pills and mental health pinned on me seems unprofessional... this is a common theme it seems amongst many practices.
Frankly, A little pressure on highly paid professionals doesn't sound like a bad thing.