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Monday, 22 March 2010

400 doctors short in Wales

The BBC have reported today that Wales is short of almost 400 doctors.

These problems come as no surprise to us at the BMA, having predicted that these shortages would happen at some point.

For some time now we have been trying to meet with representatives from the WAG, to see how we can work together, drawing on the experience of front line doctors, especially juniors, to look for some solutions to the situation.

The levels of a lack of middle grade and junior doctors right across Wales is clearly unacceptable to both our members and people needing hospital treatment and this does not look like changing in the immediate future. The Health Minister should treat this situation with urgency.

The high level of middle grade and junior doctor vacancies means that consultants are left picking up the pieces where there are gaps in rotas.

This is compromising consultants’ ability to deliver routine daily work, and there is no evidence that hospitals are adjusting services to take these shortfalls into account.

Without doubt, the rates of work being undertaken cannot be sustained with the current levels of staffing. Hospital managers must address this now, working with clinical colleagues.

The idea for our latest campaign "We'll Keep a Welcome", which aims to attract Welsh students who have left the country to study medicine to return to Wales to train as doctors, came about in an effort to tackle the problem of the severe shortage of doctors in Wales.

The safety of both NHS staff and patients is key, and we will need sustainable solutions for the future if NHS Wales is to deliver and maintain the quality and capacity of services that the people of Wales deserve.

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