Hospital Dr News

Less than a third of doctors are involved in planning for NHS winter pressures

Less than a third of doctors (29%) responding to a poll by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said they had been asked to take part in planning for winter.

More than half (58%) reported feeling worried or very worried about the ability of their hospital to deliver safe patient care in the coming months.

Only 17% were confident or very confident about preparations for the increased pressures winter is likely to place on the NHS.

Just 67 respondents said they knew how emergency funding for social care would be used to reduce the pressure on their hospital, from providing beds in the community to employing more carers.

RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard, president, said: “We know the government and NHS are doing much more to plan for winter than they were prior to 2017/18. But these findings show it is still not filtering down to staff on the wards, who need to feel confident that plans are in place to deal with the inevitable increase in demand, so they can get on with the job of providing direct clinical care.

“When we’re concerned that the wheels could fall off any moment, the pressure goes up and morale goes down.”

The RCP conducted its poll of fellows and members earlier this month.

In total, 1,761 UK foundation doctors, trainees, consultants, and Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors responded.

The figures at-a-glance:

Have you been asked to take part in planning for winter in your organisation?

Yes – 29.2%

No – 69.1%

Don’t know – 1.7%

How confident do you feel about the ability of your service to deliver safe patient care this winter?

Very confident – 2.4%

Confident – 14.6%

Neutral – 24.6%

Worried – 38.5%

Very worried – 19.8%

Earlier this year the government announced emergency funding for social care. Do you know how it will be used to reduce the pressure on your hospital?

Yes – 3.8%

No – 96.2%

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