Training crisis threatens department closures

FAILINGS in medical training could spark last-minute closures in hospital departments across Wales, it has been reported.

The Wales Deanery has warned urgent action is needed to address the training needs of junior doctors. BBC Wales reported concerns of a “recruitment crisis” of some specialty doctors which means hospitals “are struggling to provide adequate training.”

The Welsh government has said robust action is being taken to recruit medical staff. BBC Wales has reported details of an action plan, based on hospital visits by the Deanery and the General Medical Council, which is said to reveal serious shortcomings and inconsistencies in the standard of medical training at Welsh hospitals.

It highlighted instances where junior doctors have been left to work unsupervised.

Dr Sian Lewis, the sub-dean for quality at the Wales Deanery, told BBC Wales: “It's extremely urgent. A recruitment crisis [in certain areas] means we're struggling to deliver adequate training and also services are often very, very close to the edge of coping.

"Our doctors work hard, but clearly if we reach a point that we're unable to resolve our recruitment problems units would have to close unexpectedly."

Across all the health boards in Wales, junior doctors reported systemic weaknesses in the training opportunities and patient safety issues.

The action plan raised a number of issues and also highlighted that for core surgical training, Wales ranked lowest in the UK in 2011 for overall satisfaction.

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