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The safety of our patients depends on doctors working in a safe system. Due to the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS, doctors no longer feel this is the case and fear that the health of their patients is at risk.
The findings of the 2018 NHS Staff Survey show that doctors and other healthcare professionals across England are working in a system under extreme pressure due to chronic underfunding, workforce shortages and rising patient demand. As a result, they are struggling daily to sustain high standards of patient care.
The extensive debate following the Dr Bawa-Garba case rightly exposed the high levels of anxiety individual doctors have about being blamed for system failures. This makes doctors fearful in their clinical practice.
Members have made clear their concerns at recent BMA annual representative meetings, passing resolutions highlighting chronic understaffing and calling for systems to be put in place to enable doctors to alert senior managers to unsafe staffing conditions.
Others have also recognised the problem - last year, the GMC published guidance for doctors working under pressure urging them to flag concerns about unsafe care to those responsible for running services.
Governments across the UK have committed to training more doctors, but this takes years. In the meantime, doctors need effective mechanisms to escalate their concerns about inadequate staffing levels, and to be freed up from unnecessary work so they can devote their time to patient care.
To make this happen, over the coming months we will:
Identify how doctors can respond to unsafe situations by:
Identify how to remove unnecessary work from doctors’ days by:
To inform this work we need to hear about your experiences of working in understaffed situations and about any individual or collective efforts to bring about positive change in your place(s) of work.
Please do share your experiences of unsafe working in this anonymous survey. If you’re willing, we’re also seeking written or video case studies, which we will help arrange and produce, of examples of positive change. Just share your email address at the bottom of the survey and we will get in touch.
I really believe that, through this work, we can make a positive difference to the lives of doctors working across the UK and their patients.
Tell us your experiences via our short survey
David Wrigley is a GP in Lancashire and deputy chair of BMA council
Please make it easier to get into university when you have the required grades! We need to open more spaces, I have friends who have tried for years to get in without luck! And myself too
It would also help if the NHS would provide more compassionate and prompt health care to any staff when they become patients, as to avoid prolonged periods of sick leave and possible even early retirment of NHS staff who could still be working, if only they had recieved timely medical care. This would of course require doctors to be more caring, supportive and inclusive towards their collegues when they go through illness and disability.
Well, if skill mix( non medical staff) were not prioriotised to get permanent jobs and training, and all the black doctors weren't" toilet papered" into temporary roles, maybe there would be more doctors actually working in hospital providing continuousservice , rather than doctors wasting time signing up with so many locum agencies
The following is a quote from another BMA post about how GMC is helping us deal with the lack of doctors crisis? following the Hadiza Bawa Garba case? Is this for real?
"The GMC said there was an ‘overrepresentation’ of doctors from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds that have been complained about."
So in effect are the regulators and commissioners saying care is not the number of doctors but how "white washed" it is?
Was this a complaint made by patient's or by the management. as far as I am aware, the patient's want bona fide "medical" opinion when they come to hospital
George Orwell wrote a book citing" all animals are equal and some are more equal than others"... this was last century? why are we still there?
It is vital to carry out a survey for staff to feedback the different and specific factors which are important for doctors to feel valued; these could include issues relating to work environment and non clinical pressures to meet managerial 'targets'. In the absence of honest information on specific stressors and in the presence of denial of these issues by Trusts' Execs, medical retention and recruitment would likely to continue and get worst.
I feel a lot of extra manpower could be acquired by setting up formal pathways to enable doctors who have been away from medical practice for different reasons for a smoother re entry pathway.
From my experience unless you are in the "club" it is very difficult any only through the locum route.
This is excellent work David, thank you,
I have seen scary suggestions from some medical directorates and health boards in Wales suggesting due to lack of GPs, especially OOHs, that future urgent care models are going to have to rely on GPs remotely supervising urgent care practitioners (nurses or paramedics trained up to do home visits) who they may never have met before and so have no idea of their competency,, for patients they cannot review themselves and do not know, without access to the full clinical record.
When pointed out the huge increased risk this puts on those GPs, their answer is ‘OOH GPs are just going to have to accept that increased risk’.
No one will work in OOH as GPs under such conditions,
Don’t drive the old lags like me with crap like appraisal and revalidation.
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Understanding the people who make up our pool of potential customers is a lot more scary.