11/07/2024 06:07 PM

LONDON, July 11 (Bernama-PA Media/dpa) -- British hospital consultants are being “disenfranchised” as they feel “overworked and undervalued”, leading medics have warned, reported PA Media.

The new government must do more to retain senior hospital doctors, the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow said.

This comes as a new census of consultants paints a picture of high workloads, concerns about vacancies, and poor IT equipment taking up limited time.

A poll of 3,666 NHS consultants conducted by the royal colleges across the UK revealed that nearly half or 47 per cent of physicians reported a decline in job satisfaction over the last year, while 39 per cent of consultant physicians said they have an excessive workload for almost all or most of the time.

The survey identified clinical workload, poorly functioning IT, and staff vacancies as top three factors negatively affecting wellbeing at work.

Stress levels were notably high, with 69 per cent of consultants reporting feeling very or somewhat stressed at work, while morale within departments has significantly decreased according to 61 per cent of consultants surveyed. Fifty-nine per cent reported having at least one consultant vacancy in their department, and 17 per cent noted that another health professional has been appointed in place of a consultant.

More than a quarter or 28 per cent of physicians have decided to retire at an earlier age in the last year, the survey indicated.

Dr Mumtaz Patel, vice president of education and training at the Royal College of Physicians, said: “The medical workforce is the lifeblood of the NHS.

“While we must train more doctors to meet demand, retaining the staff we already have is critical to getting our health service back on firm footing and delivering many of the new government’s promised commitments on the NHS.

“Right now, we have dedicated staff working in a health service which simply doesn’t work for them. They are overworked, undervalued, job satisfaction is falling and many are clearly becoming disenfranchised.

“Unless we urgently improve working conditions, we face losing many of our brightest and most committed.”

Professor Andrew Elder, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, stated: “The census highlights that the UK continues to operate with too few doctors.

“This puts a strain on our medical workforce through increased workloads and rota gaps, leading to stress and burnout in many instances.

“A focus on the recruitment and retention of doctors is of course vital.”

Meanwhile, Mike McKirdy, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said the NHS “cannot survive without a strong workforce” and urged the government to “seriously address the ongoing crisis in the NHS workforce”.

According to a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson, the government has a mission to get the NHS back on its feet and build an NHS fit for the future.

“We will deliver the long-term workforce plan to ensure the NHS has the staff it needs to provide quality care for patients and act to improve public service workers’ working lives.”

-- BERNAMA-PA Media/dpa


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