Following new data from the BMA on rota gaps Professor Jane Dacre gives her view.
The BMA survey is further evidence of the ongoing crisis in our NHS. Our own surveys show that consultants often ‘act down’ to fill rota gaps, with a negative impact on morale.
Across the professions everyone is working hard to keep our NHS going. But this shouldn’t mask the fact that those on the frontline are increasingly demoralised and concerned about their ability to deliver the standard of care they were trained to deliver.
It is vital that we act now to increase the number of doctors. As I said in October, in the short term we need to recruit doctors from overseas by expanding the Medical Training Initiative and making it easier for doctors from other countries to come to the UK to learn from supervised practice.
The immediate workforce pressures on the NHS need to be addressed so we can concentrate on a long term solution for the whole health and social care system. Health Education England has made a start with its consultation on a workforce strategy for the next ten years. However, the government, NHS organisations, Royal Colleges, professions, trade unions, regulators, higher education institutions and policy think tanks need to work together to combat staff shortages.
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