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Break time legal action: “NHS managers need to do more to support their junior doctors”

The current test case on the ‘break times’ of junior doctors could have significant implications for the NHS.

Unfortunately clinical negligence lawyers will never know how many medical accidents are caused by junior doctors failing to take sufficient rest breaks during any given shift.

However, it would seem that junior doctors feel that they are being placed in highly pressured situations and that this has an impact on patient safety.

In my experience as a clinical negligence lawyer, it is unusual to receive an admission as to the actual cause of a medical mistake or error being due to an overworked junior doctor.

Since October 2014, the NHS and their providers have been required to inform patients when they believe or suspect the treatment or care it provided has caused death or serious injury to a patient.

This statutory duty of candour came about following the Francis Inquiry into the treatment of patients at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in February 2013.

I would like to see a continued effort by NHS managers to support their junior doctors and to lead by example in promoting a cultural change to provide a policy of openness and transparency, when things go wrong.

Unfortunately, this latest move by junior doctors highlights the lack of understanding from NHS managers and highlights that junior doctors feel in order to be heard they need to seek redress in the courts.

This is a worrying outcome for patients and for patient safety.

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