As a supporter of the NHS we know that it is a great "institution". As a realist and a person who has worked for the NHS we know it is not perfect. There are some core issues which should have been addressed some time ago. One is the influx of newly trained doctors who will begin work in NHS hospitals, largely unsupervised
Today Wednesday August 1, 2012 the new junior doctors will begin work. Today has been labelled Black Wednesday, having gone on record as one day in the year when you do not want to be hospitalised, period.
Now that this issue has been raised publicly it will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Of course it should have never got to this stage. However once would be patients read the news coverage in the mainstream media today confidence will be hit. It will mean that any deaths in hospital could be viewed as suspect by relatives.
Statistically the start of August in NHS hospitals has seen an increase in mortality. That is terrible news.
There are claims that a better system of "august change overs" for doctors is being rolled out across the country. This would mean that new doctors were closely supervised for at least the first few days of their appointment to a hospital ward. They would be able to shadow a more experienced doctor and learn the ropes rather than left "to their own devices" from day one.
The problem will be that as part of the junior doctor rotation in most hospitals the previous doctors will have left their jobs yesterday, July 31, 2012. In general junior doctors work on a rotation system that sees them changing wards and departments every three or four months.
August is D Day as far as brand new medical staff goes. Although the new doctors will have undertaken intensive training in medical college they will lack ward based experience. Too many are left to deal with patients on more than one ward, emergencies and more, on their own. There will be administrative and nursing staff to offer advice plus a consultant on hand at times but all in all they are left as the person responsible for the ward patients well being.
With the best will in the world the NHS will be unable to cope with the initiative which aims to ensure that new doctors work alongside experienced doctors for at least the first four days of work. Some hospital trusts will have had new doctors in post already to achieve this come August 1 but others will not.
Funding issues and staff shortages will mean that Black Wednesday will not be resolved easily, but resolved it must be. If you were to suffer a cardiac arrest in hospital you should have an experienced doctor to hand. If not the NHS has failed you.
We all need to learn and junior doctors have a lot to offer. Like all new jobs though they need time to get to grips with their role.
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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