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RCP: Eight in 10 doctors worried about ability to deliver safe patient care

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By lealegraien@cogora.com
12 March 2018

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Eight in 10 doctors are worried about their ability to provide safe care, a survey by the Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) has revealed.

In a new report, the RCP found that 80% of over 1,500 doctors surveyed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are worried about their ability to provide safe patient care over the next 12 months.

‘Pushed to its limit’

Eight in 10 doctors are worried about their ability to provide safe care, a survey by the Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) has revealed.

In a new report, the RCP found that 80% of over 1,500 doctors surveyed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are worried about their ability to provide safe patient care over the next 12 months.

‘Pushed to its limit’

The doctors surveyed argued that the NHS crisis is getting worse, with the system being ‘pushed to its limit’. Over six in 10 (64%) said they believed patient safety had deteriorated over the past year – 10% higher than last year.

RCP president Professor Jane Dacre said: ‘It’s extremely worrying and depressing that our doctors have experienced an even worse winter than last year, particularly when so much effort was put into forward planning and cancelling elective procedures to enable us to cope better.’ 

Unable to cope

Doctors are finding it difficult to cope with growing demand, an ageing population with increasingly complex medical needs and the difficulties of maintaining morale when the NHS is underfunded, understaffed and overstretched, the survey showed.

Around 93% of respondents said they experienced staff shortages across their team, while 85% saw a rising demand for their service over the past year.

The findings come after NHS England figures, published on 8 March, showed that only 85% of patients were seen, assessed or discharged within four hours in hospitals in February – the worst performance since the 95% four-hour-wait target was introduced in 2004.

NHS ‘on the brink’

Commenting on the report, Royal College of GPs (RCGP) chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampardsaid that ‘the combination of a depleted workforce, intense workload, and chronic underfunding has left the health service on the brink, putting both staff and patient wellbeing at risk’. 
 
She added: ‘Our NHS is operating under immense pressures and we're sure that everyone working in the health system can relate to this report in one way or another. 

‘In general practice alone, our workload has risen by at least 16% over the last seven years but investment in our service hasn’t risen at the same pace – something surgeries up and down the country are now feeling on a day-to-day basis.’ 

The RCP made the following recommendations to tackle the crisis:

·       Make the UK more accessible and attractive to doctors from other countries.

·       Work together to make sure the NHS has the workforce and resources it needs.

·       Set funding for health and social care that matches growing patient need and investing more in public health initiatives.

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