Hospital Dr News

BMA project seeks to inform Government of frontline NHS challenges

The BMA has launched a new project aimed at finding solutions to NHS challenges.

The doctors’ union has published the first phase of the project, ‘Caring Supportive, Collaborative,’ which reveals widespread fears of unsafe care and a culture of blame.

Launched in early 2018, the project is engaging doctors across the UK in an open conversation about their daily working experiences and what they want the NHS to look like in the future.

Over recent months, almost 8,000 doctors – junior doctors to GPs and hospital doctors – have provided their accounts of working life across the NHS in a major survey conducted by ICM on behalf of the BMA.

It claims the results are stark: they show the damaging impact of asking doctors to provide care without enough funding, staff, beds or equipment to meet the needs of patients.

Adding to this, the results suggest that poor lines of communication and organisational divisions between general practice and hospitals is undermining patient care.

A lack of IT support is holding back efforts to encourage collaboration and greater innovation in our health services, it shows.

This, doctors say, is contributing to a vicious cycle of low morale, doctors leaving the NHS, an inability to recruit and widespread vacancies which go unfilled.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “It is vital that the Government and policy makers heed the views of all doctors who provide care at the coalface; they are in the best place to know the problems the NHS faces on a daily, hourly basis.

“They know the scale of impoverishment in the NHS is staggering. They are working in a culture which has improved little since the publication of the Francis and Berwick reports following the tragedies in Mid-Staffordshire five years ago.

“Doctors experience challenges of trying to provide safe patient care when there is poor staffing, gaps in rotas, lack of adequate facilities and where a persistent culture of blame stifles learning and improvement.

“The BMA’s Caring, Supportive, Collaborative project aims to understand and find solutions to these challenges. “

The survey also reveals that 95% of doctors are fearful of making a medical error and that the level of fear has increased over the past five years.

As well as a culture of fear and blame, the survey also showed that Black and Asian Minority Ethnic doctors remain disadvantaged by the NHS. Only half of BAME doctors feel respected or culturally included in their place of work.

They talked of experiencing unconscious racism in everything from job progression to training and patient interaction.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, commented: “The upcoming long-term plan represents an opportunity to address many of these issues and we must get it right.

“We have significant investment and it is time to get serious about transformation – it is not some kind of ‘fad’ and unless we invest in, and improve communication with, primary and community care then we know pressures on hospitals will continue to ratchet up.

“We must admit the NHS has been slow to grab the many advantages of the digital revolution and acknowledge this has to change.”

Read more here.

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