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NHS Crisis - A Shortage of Doctors

Hardly a day goes by without there being mention of the ongoing ‘NHS Crisis’ in the UK and unfortunately nothing seems to be changing.

The General Medical Council’s (GMC) latest annual report confirms that whilst the number of registered doctors within the UK has increased by 2% since 2012, there has also been a 27% increase in A&E attendances in England within this time. It therefore calls into question whether there are enough doctors qualifying to deal with the growing demand for medical treatment which is likely to have a detrimental impact on patients.

One of the most recent controversial decisions that has come to light is that thousands of surgeries have been cancelled to avoid what is termed a ‘winter crisis’. This means that non-urgent operations such as hip and knee replacements have been delayed until mid-January. Whilst urgent operations including time-critical and cancer related operations will still go ahead as planned, this will likely create problems for thousands of people on the waiting list, with a knock on effect for thousands more.

This is one of several efforts been made to relieve the pressure on the NHS and create a safer and more tolerable working environment for doctors and nurses. The GMC is concerned about the amount of people entering the medical profession and the effect that Brexit is likely to have in relation to this. Concerns have arisen as to the number of overseas doctors who will move to the UK following Brexit negotiations and whether this is likely to create further shortages of staff in areas where there is a greater reliance on overseas medical professionals such as gynaecology and obstetrics.

Working within the clinical negligence team at JMW, I have seen the effect that a shortage of medical professionals can have on the treatment received by individuals. As doctors become more stressed and overworked, they are more prone to making mistakes which can have a detrimental effect on patients. Sara Ellis has recently written a blog in relation to the rise in birth injuries in the last year, and this raises the  question whether a  shortage in medical professionals will increase this figure.  

JMW’s clinical negligence team is highly experienced in dealing with all matters of clinical negligence including delays in diagnosis and birth injuries. If you have been affected  by shortages of staff or substandard care, please contact the team for a confidential discussion. Using the form or call 03458726666