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Medics worry as staff shortages pose big threat to safety on wards

One doctor in five believes that patient safety is being compromised by staffing problems

An annual census of 8,500 British doctors by the Royal College of Physicians of London, on behalf of the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, has revealed that over half of all consultants and two thirds of trainees reported frequent gaps in junior doctor rotas.

20 per cent said that shortages are causing significant problems for patient safety in hospitals. Only two per cent said rota gaps have no impact on patient safety.

The survey also found that consultants and trainees are working about 10 per cent more than their contracted hours. Sadly, the census confirms our fears that the demands on doctors are increasingly unsustainable.

Some 27 per cent of junior doctors said that, if they could turn back time, they would take a medical job outside the NHS.  31 per cent even said they would seek a job outside medicine.

RCP president, Professor Dame Jane Dacre, said: “Sadly the census confirms our fears that the demands on doctors are increasingly untenable.”

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