NHS plagued with rota gaps and vacancies

OVER 70 per cent hospital doctors reported rota gaps in their departments and a significant percentage believe the delivery of care has worsened in several areas over the last year, according to survey figures published by the BMA.

The figures come from the BMA’s quarterly online survey of 2,400 doctors from across all branches of practice, which was sent out between 29 November and 19 December 2017 (response rate of 38 per cent).

It found that 71 per cent of hospital-based respondents report that there are currently rota gaps in the department in which they work, and 47 per cent of GP respondents reported vacancies in their practices with 73 per cent of those having at least one vacancy that remained unfilled for six months or more.

Many doctors in the survey also believe the delivery of care has worsened in several areas over the last year. The figures show that 67 per cent of respondents thought that the delivery of urgent and emergency care services have worsened, 72 per cent of respondents felt that mental health provision has worsened, 71 per cent of respondents felt that access to GP and primary care services has worsened, and 86 per cent of respondents thought that NHS financial sustainability has worsened.

Commenting on the figures, 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."