The provision of care and rota gaps are getting worse, a British Medical Association (BMA) survey of 900 doctors from different specialities in the NHS has found.
Around 71% of doctors had rota gaps in their department, whereas 47% of GP practices reported vacancies that in 73% of the cases remained uncovered for six months or more.
Doctors also lamented that the delivery of care had deteriorated in different areas over the last year, with 86% them believing that the NHS financial sustainability had worsen and 72% saying the same of mental health provision.
It comes as a King’s Fund’s report revealed last week that the mental health (MH) funding gap between NHS acute hospitals and MH NHS providers has increased ‘because national funding has focused on relieving pressure on acute hospitals.’
The National Audit Office found last week that the NHS had to use its extra £1.8bn Sustainability and Transformation Fund to cope with current pressures, when it was instead issued for long-term transformation.
The BMA said that, although doctors are committed to deliver the best care to patients, staffing and financial pressures play against doctors’ ability to deliver good quality of care.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘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.
‘With pressures rising year-on-year, we are calling on politicians to act now. We urgently need a long-term solution to the staffing and funding pressures facing the NHS, otherwise it simply won’t be able to provide the safe and high-quality care that patients deserve and doctors want to be able to deliver.’