College President Professor Jackie Taylor has called for government to act now to address the growing workforce crisis in the NHS. The call follows the publication of new research which shows that over two-thirds of doctors work over their rostered hours on a weekly basis.
The report, published today by the General Medical Council (GMC), also reveals that over a quarter of doctors feel unable to cope with their workload on a weekly basis, while one in eight have taken a leave of absence due to stress in the last year.
The findings are revealed in the GMC’s “The state of medical education and practice in the UK”, which is available today (Thursday 24th October).
Speaking following the publication of the report, Professor Taylor said:
“This report makes stark reading, but the results will not come as a surprise to our Fellows and Members. Doctors on the front line of our health service are bearing the burden of this workforce crisis every day of their working lives.
“Shortages of medical staff are now depressingly commonplace throughout the NHS. Not only is this causing short-term staffing challenges in filling rota gaps, but these results show that absence due to work-related stress is a major issue.. We need to address the root causes of these challenges. This is not just about the wellbeing of our members, it’s essential to ensure that our patients continue to receive safe, high quality care.
“This is why our College has called for government to increase the number of medical school places, in order to put in place a long-term solution to this crisis. While we wait for these new doctors to be trained for the NHS, urgent measures are also required now to ensure that we retain the workforce that we do have. This means action now to improve the workplace environment, to develop a much more flexible approach to training and working, and to sort out the punitive taxation rules for pensions.
“Our College will continue our work to keep these issues at the top of the agenda, and to encourage government and employers to take the action necessary to rectify this crisis.”