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Reaction to the GMC Training Report: “Government needs to tackle the workload”

Dr Pete Campbell, BMA junior doctors committee chair

“Patients and the public may be shocked by these findings, but no junior doctor will be surprised. It is still far too common that junior doctors are left sleep deprived after regularly working beyond their rostered hours, on rotas that are desperately short of doctors.

“We cannot accept a situation where vital training time is being sacrificed in the face of rising pressures on services. This is a short-sighted approach that is already having an impact on the quality of patient care. We need to maintain a highly trained medical workforce if the NHS is to continue to deliver a world class service for patients, and protecting and valuing training time is absolutely vital to achieving this.

“This report highlights important concerns around workload, safety and training and reminds NHS employers of their obligations. As part of negotiations on the new junior doctor contract in England, the BMA pushed for and delivered a new system to ensure that junior doctors can report when they have to work above their rostered hours, or have missed training opportunities, so these can be immediately addressed. The BMA will be monitoring this closely to ensure it is implemented effectively.

“In order to address the underlying issues highlighted in this report, the government urgently needs to tackle the workload, staffing and funding challenges that are overwhelming our health service and compromising patient care and doctors’ training.”

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers

“The health and safety of staff and thereby their patients is paramount. Many of the issues highlighted in this report will be mitigated by the new 2016 contract of employment for doctors in training.

“The new contract sets out improved requirements on working hours and adequate rest periods, while the new independent Guardian of safe working hours will play a vital role in enforcing them.

“At the same time, employers and Health Education England continue to make improvements to the quality of training on offer.”

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