Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Junior Doctor Contracts Damaging, Says Top Medic

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Junior Doctor Contracts Damaging, Says Top Medic

Article excerpt

Byline: Ella Pickover and Georgina Stubbs Reporters jnl.newsdesk@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE new contract for junior doctors could have a "damaging effect" on patient care and deepen the recruitment crisis in the NHS, a leading doctor has warned.

The imposition of the contract will be the "final straw" for many doctors who are considering leaving medicine altogether or moving abroad to practice, Professor Jane Dacre said.

The exodus of staff is a "tragedy for the NHS and a colossal loss of potential", the president of the Royal College of Physicians said.

"The reason I am so worried about it is because of the damaging effect on the next generation of doctors, and in turn on patient care," said Professor Dacre, speaking at an urgent meeting called by the British Medical Association (BMA) to discuss the "funding and workforce crisis across the UK health service". Prof Dacre, who is not involved in the dispute, continued: "Across the country there are not enough doctors to cover the current clinical workload, in particular the acute oncall work. Many shifts are unfilled, representing a significant risk to patient safety. Every day, trainees and consultants alike are asked to work extra shifts to cover these gaps.

"Junior doctors already work seven days per week in acute and emergency care. Doctors are moving to other countries for more supportive working and learning environments and many are considering leaving medicine entirely.

"They do not feel safe, valued or supported and the imposition of the contract is the final straw. This is a tragedy for the NHS and a colossal loss of potential." Prof Dacre questioned how the government planned to implement a seven-day service.

She said she was recently asked to cover a locum shift on the Isle of Wight. "How desperate is that?", she continued. "If the president of the Royal College of Physicians is being asked to cover senior house office posts 70 miles away, if we have neither enough trainees nor consultants to run the service now, how are we going to implement a safe seven-day service? …

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