latest health care news

05.12.18

Doctors could quit NHS in ‘unprecedented numbers’ as staff pressures puts patient safety at risk

Doctors driven to the “brink of breaking point” and forced into adopting “risky and unsustainable compromises” to maintain care are putting patient safety at risk, the GMC has warned.

The medical regulator found that more than half of UK doctors are considering quitting the NHS or cutting their hours, and warned there was a high risk of doctors leaving “in unprecedented numbers.”

The GMC polled 2,600 doctors and found that 56% were examining other career options, and a quarter had already cut their hours or gone part-time.

The research stated that, as patient numbers continued to rise and staff were forced to make “risky compromises,” ministers were running out of time to act and implement UK-wide workforce planning to fix the fragmented approach to recruitment and retention of doctors.

Doctors told the watchdog that time pressures meant they were increasingly taking short cuts in their jobs, with one in three reporting that they saw clinical protocols bypassed at least every week.

Sir Terence Stephenson, chair of the GMC, said: “Doctors are telling us clearly that the strain that the system is under is having a direct effect on them, and on their plans to continue working in that system.”

The GMC said it was particularly concerned that 21% of 45-54-year-olds and two-thirds of 55-64-year olds intend to take early retirement by 2021, and said the figures come against a backdrop of uncertainty around Brexit, which could hit the 9% of UK licensed doctors who are EEA qualified.

The ‘State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK’ report submitted a number of proposals to help mitigate the building NHS workforce crisis, including legislative change to give more flexibility for those joining the GP and specialist registers.

The GMC recommended building insight into the distribution of doctors through a national database of doctors, their skills and locations, as well as accommodating for the rise in international doctors wishing to sit the tests.

Stephenson added: “We’ve heard from doctors who are referring patients on to other parts of the system because they don’t have the time to deal with their issues, understandably moving the pressure on to other parts of the service.”

“There are different challenges in each of the four countries of the UK, but the NHS is at a critical juncture; without a long-term, UK-wide plan to ensure it has a workforce with the right skills in the right places and without the right support, doctors will come under even greater strain.”

Image credit - sturti

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teeside cleaner

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teeside cleaner

Over 20 years ago, a Teeside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took ste... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >