PATIENT CARE AT RISK! – BMA slams ‘rushed-through reforms’

Members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists with their placards marching against cuts in Nottingham
Members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists with their placards marching against cuts in Nottingham

‘Rushed through reforms’ to doctors’ training will see ‘risks to patient care’, warns the British Medical Association.

The BMA said that under the government’s ‘Modernising Medical Careers’ reforms, around 20,000 new specialist training posts are to be created across the UK next summer.

The process of selecting junior doctors to the posts is scheduled to take place between 28 February and 13 April 2007.

The BMA is concerned that only six weeks has been set aside for interviews and that the period may be shorter in some areas.

This could leave wards struggling to provide cover for junior doctors being interviewed, and for the consultants interviewing them.

In supplementary evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on NHS workforce planning, published today, the BMA quotes a letter from the Director of NHS Employers stating: ‘The absence of 21,500 junior doctors attending up to four interviews could have a major impact on service delivery, and/or the cost of locum cover.’

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, told News Line: ‘The possibility of a major service impact is of significant concern to consultants. Unless doctors are properly involved, there will be risks to patient care.’

Meanwhile, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) said job cuts mean people needing physiotherapy will suffer.

Seven out of ten new physiotherapy graduates face a bleak Christmas without employment in their chosen profession.

This is despite high levels of patient demand for physiotherapy services, a new CSP study reveals.

The latest set of official Hospital Episode Statistics show that at least one in nine people were admitted to hospital with conditions that needed physiotherapy treatment (1.2 million admissions).

But 68 per cent of physiotherapists who graduated from qualifying programmes in England this year are still without their first NHS junior physiotherapy job, the CSP’s latest survey finds.

CSP Chief Executive Phil Gray said: ‘The latest hospital admissions figures show that millions of patients need physiotherapy expertise, but with hundreds of jobs frozen or cut to help relieve financial pressure on the NHS, patients are waiting longer to see a physiotherapist.

‘To have a trained workforce sat idle to save the NHS money when they ought to be at the heart of the health service helping patients is totally unacceptable.’

l Nurses will have to work nearly fourteen days to pay for Christmas Day – three times as long as an MP and nearly seven times as long as a Cabinet minister, a Royal College of Nursing survey has revealed.

This came as the RCN yesterday gave its oral evidence to the independent Nursing and Other Health Professionals Review Body (NOHPRB), which sets nurses’ pay.

RCN Executive Director, Nursing Professor Alison Kitson said: ‘We are calling on the government to spread a bit of festive cheer and give nurses a fair pay award, not the mean-spirited 1.5 per cent it is currently suggesting, which amounts to a pay cut for nurses who are already the worst paid professional group in the public sector.

‘What nurses want most this Christmas is the promise of an above inflation award that reflects their skill and dedication to patients.’