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Rota gaps widespread and delivery of care has worsened, warn doctors in new survey

Doctors are reporting wide-spread rota gaps and believe that the delivery of care in the NHS is getting worse, according to new survey figures published today by the British Medical Association (BMA).

The survey1 showed that:

  • More than seven in 10 hospital doctors (71 per cent) reported rota gaps in their departments2;
  • Almost half (47 per cent) of GPs reported vacancies in their practice, with 73 per cent of those having at least one vacancy that remained unfilled for six months or more3;

The results also showed that doctors believe the delivery of care has worsened in several areas over the last year. The figures show that:

  • 67 per cent of respondents thought that the delivery urgent and emergency care services have worsened4;
  • 72 per cent of respondents felt that mental health provision has worsened5;
  • 71 per cent of respondents felt that access to GP and primary care services has worsened6;
  • 86 per cent of respondents thought that NHS financial sustainability has worsened7;

Commenting on the figures, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:

“These figures highlight doctors’ concerns about a decline in services and widespread staff shortages. As doctors, we want to be able to provide the best possible care for patients, but access and quality of care are being affected by staffing and financial pressures.

“The result is delays in patients being treated, and doctors juggling large numbers of patients to compensate for staff shortages. This isn’t safe for patients and it isn’t sustainable for doctors.

“With pressures rising year-on-year, we are calling on politicians to act now. We urgently need a long-term solution to the staffing and funding pressures facing the NHS, otherwise it simply won’t be able to provide the safe and high-quality care that patients deserve and doctors want to be able to deliver.”

Ends

Notes to editors

 The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.

1. The figures have been obtained through the BMA’s quarterly, online survey of 2,400 doctors from across all branches of practice. It had 900 responses (a response rate of 38 per cent). Panel members completed the survey between 29 November and 19 December 2017.

2. Rota gaps: 71 per cent of hospital-based respondents report that there are currently rota gaps in the department in which they work, 29.5 per cent reported no rota gaps.

3. 47 per cent of GP respondents reported doctor vacancies in the practices in which they work and 53 per cent did not report any vacancies. 73 per cent of those reporting vacancies said that at least one of those vacancies have not been filled for six months or more.

4. Delivery of urgent and emergency care: one per cent said delivery had significantly improved, nine per cent said delivery has slightly improved, 23 per cent said delivery had stayed the same, 38 per cent said delivery had become slightly worse and 29 per cent said delivery had become significantly worse.

5. Mental health provision: six per cent said provision had slightly improved, 22 per cent said provision has stayed the same, 31 per cent said it had become slightly worse, 41 per cent said it has become significantly worse.

6. Access to GP and primary care services: one per cent of respondents said access has significantly improved, five per cent said access has slightly improved, 23 per cent said access has stayed the same, 36 per cent said access has become slightly worse and 35 per cent said access has become significantly worse.

7. Financial stability of the NHS: three per cent said the financial stability of the NHS has slightly improved, 11 per cent said it has stayed the same, 32 per cent said it has become slightly worse and 54 per cent said it has become significantly worse.

 

For further information please contact:

British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP
Telephone: 020 7383 6448 
Email: [email protected]
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