Hospital Dr News

Rota gaps widespread in the NHS and delivery of acute care deteriorating, survey shows

Doctors are reporting wide-spread rota gaps and believe that the delivery of care in the NHS is deteriorating.

That’s the key findings of a survey by the BMA, which shows seven in ten hospital doctors reported rota gaps in their departments.

Almost half (47%) of GPs reported vacancies in their practice, with 73% of those having at least one vacancy that remained unfilled for six months or more.

The results also showed that doctors believe the delivery of care has worsened in several areas over the last year.

The figures show that over the past 12 months:

  • 67% of respondents thought that the delivery of urgent and emergency care services have worsened
  • 72% felt that mental health provision has worsened
  • 71% felt that access to GP and primary care services has worsened
  • 86% thought that NHS financial sustainability has worsened.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “These figures highlight doctors’ concerns about a decline in services and widespread staff shortages. As doctors, we want to be able to provide the best possible care for patients, but access and quality of care are being affected by staffing and financial pressures.

“The result is delays in patients being treated, and doctors juggling large numbers of patients to compensate for staff shortages. This isn’t safe for patients and it isn’t sustainable for doctors.

“With pressures rising year-on-year, we are calling on politicians to act now. We urgently need a long-term solution to the staffing and funding pressures facing the NHS, otherwise it simply won’t be able to provide the safe and high-quality care that patients deserve and doctors want to be able to deliver.”

RCP president, Professor Jane Dacre, commented: “The BMA survey is further evidence of the ongoing crisis in our NHS. Our own surveys show that consultants often ‘act down’ to fill rota gaps, with a negative impact on morale.

“Across the professions everyone is working hard to keep our NHS going. But this shouldn’t mask the fact that those on the frontline are increasingly demoralised and concerned about their ability to deliver the standard of care they were trained to deliver.

“It is vital that we act now to increase the number of doctors.”

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