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    Friday, 27 July 2018 16:22
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    Thursday, 26 July 2018 15:29
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    Tuesday, 24 July 2018 13:07

a stethoscope image cbMarch 13 2018

Two thirds of doctors have indicated that patient safety could have worsened over the past year. 

The majority of over 1,500 members surveyed by the Royal College of Physicians have indicated that “their situation had become worse in nearly all areas of care over the last year.”

According to the survey:

  • 64% of doctors believe that patient safety has deteriorated over the past year (10% higher than last year);
  • 93% experienced staff shortages across the team (9% higher than last year);
  • 84% believe that the workforce is demoralised (2% higher than last year);
  • 85% cite rising demand for their service over the past year (7% higher than last year);
  • 47% cite lower-quality care over the past year (10% higher than last year);
  • 80% are worried about the ability of their service to deliver safe patient care in the next 12 months (6% higher than last year).

The RCP says that urgent action is needed in the short term to make the UK more accessible and attractive to doctors from other countries, including by relaxing visa restrictions for the healthcare workforce. In the longer term more must be done to increase workforce size, as well as increasing funding to match patient need.

RCP president Professor Jane Dacre said: “It is extremely worrying and depressing that our doctors have experienced an even worse winter than last year, particularly when so much effort was put into forward planning and cancelling elective procedures to enable us to cope better.

“We simply cannot go through this again – it is not as if the situation was either new or unexpected. As the NHS reaches 70, our patients deserve better – somehow, we need to move faster towards a better resourced, adequately staffed NHS during 2018 or it will happen again.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair, said: “We have huge empathy with our hospital colleagues, and we know that GPs around the UK would echo their sentiments around increasing workload, and concerns for patient safety. Our NHS is operating under immense pressures and we’re sure that everyone working in the health system can relate to this report in one way or another.”

General practice workload has risen by at least 16% over the last seven years, but investment in the service has not risen at the same pace, she said. “We agree with the recommendations made in the report that we need to make the UK more accessible and attractive to doctors from other countries, and that public initiatives to reduce patient need must be properly funded if the NHS is to see any benefit.”

Links:
RCP announcement     
RCGO comment           

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