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Monday, 14 June 2010

Why Wales has to attract the best medical talent

Our Public Affairs Officer Carla Mahoney has written a column for the Western Mail today. It looks at the inadequate staffing levels in the NHS in Wales.

Take a look here and leave a comment on this blog if you have something to share on this topic.


  1. Yes - a couple comments and questions, which I hope you will publish and respond.

    1. Please name the hospitals that have been downgraded. Where hospitals have been downgraded - do the decency to explain why. In most cases it's as a result of new and improved services.

    2. Provide the full breakdown of wards that have closed and why?

    3. In terms of the WTD - is the BMA seriously saying that it wants to return to the bad old days when Junior Doctors worked 24hr days and patient care was put at risk?

    4. How much will it cost to bring Junior Doctor accommodation up to scratch and please explain why Junior Doctors, who already earn above average salaries in Wales, should have their digs subsidised by the dustman, the plumber, the window cleaner.

    Finally, to describe NHS Wales at 'breaking point' is a slap in the face for all of us who work so hard for it and irresponsible in terms of impending spending cuts.

  2. 1. The neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant was downgraded to a level two unit due to a shortage of middle grade doctors - not as a result of new and improved services. It is this sort of example which the article is referring to. If downgrading was taking place as a result of these “new and improved services” which you refer to, our members would not be expressing concern, they would be expressing delight.

    2. Again, I will provide one example which highlights the sort of situation the article was addressing. The emergency transfer of inpatient paediatrics from Singleton to Morriston Hospital in Swansea last year highlighted the problem that the NHS in Wales is having attracting middle-grade doctors to work in Wales.

    3. That is not what the BMA are advocating and this was not suggested in the article. Initial reviews of the EWTD have shown that it has reduced training opportunities for junior doctors. Working less hours per doctor combined with the chronic shortages of hospital doctors in Wales can lead to an increased risk to patient care. These are issues which need to be addressed.

    4. Junior Doctors do not earn above average salaries in Wales, they earn below the average salary. It is not our job to provide the information on cost. It is our job however, to highlight and address the concerns that members bring to us regarding below standard accommodation, including digs with no hot water, bed bugs and broken central heating units.
    We have severe shortages of hospital doctors in Wales, and free accomodation for the first year after qualifying goes some way towards creating the culture which is necessary to attract the best medical talent for the future. Ultimately that will bode well for Welsh patients.

    5. We fully recognise the hard work that those working in and for the NHS contribute. However, the terminology used to describe what could happen to the NHS in Wales (note the actual sentence said “fast approaching breaking point”) is the collective view of our members - those working on the frontline delivering services. People are always going to have opposing views in life, but it is our job to represent the views of our members, and that is what this article did.


What do you think? Leave your comment on this post.