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Juniors don't have time to deliver quality care, BMA survey reveals

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More than one in four junior doctors feel they do not have the time to deliver the quality of care that patients deserve, according to a BMA survey.

The BMA Cohort Study reveals half of respondents say there is a problem with staffing shortages in their workplaces, which has an impact on care delivery.

The report says that the current shortages question the validity of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence's predictions of a consultant oversupply by 2020.

Rising levels of stress are also revealed among trainees who are struggling to find a decent work-life balance.

The study follows the career pathways of 430 doctors who graduated in 2006 over a 10-year period.

Time poor doctor sitting on the floor

For the first time this year, participants were asked questions on workplace morale and well-being.

Of the 376 respondents, 105 doctors — 28 per cent –— said they did not have the time to deliver the quality of care patients deserve.

It also finds 44 per cent of doctors feel their stress levels have become worse or much worse in the past year.

The survey comes as the BMA junior doctors committee is having initial talks with NHS Employers over a possible new contract for trainees where issues such as work-life balance will play a part in discussions.

JDC chair Ben Molyneux said: ‘We owe it to our patients to change the way doctors are trained.

‘It is shocking that one in four junior doctors feel they do not have the time to offer the highest quality of care to patients.

‘Sadly, it is not surprising when you discover that so many doctors in training are working in unacceptable, stressful environments where understaffing is commonplace.’

More control

Dr Molyneux added: ‘We will push for junior doctors to have more control of their working patterns so that they can better plan their lives and the care of their patients.’

The survey also highlights the importance of doctors’ contact with patients, with 92 per cent saying it had a positive effect on their morale.

Other findings include:

  • Two in five doctors say there are ‘feelings of negativity’ in their workplace yet over 84 per cent still have good relationships with their peers and supervisors
  • Nine out of 10 doctors cite dissatisfaction with work-life balance as a reason why doctors leave the NHS to work overseas
  • Six in ten think changes to the NHS have harmed morale.