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Latest News from the BMA


Medical students drafted in to plug staffing gaps

The relaunched Guardian uses its first front page in a new tabloid format to report on emails revealing inexperienced undergraduates are being asked to help in A&E units and wards to combat increasing winter pressures.

The newspaper adds the BMA said asking students who had not qualified in medicine to assist with, in some cases, severely ill patients was a desperate measure which could place patient at risk and is exploiting undergraduates.

BMA medical students committee co-chair Harrison Carter said: “Not only would this be exploitation of students who may be reluctant to say no, but it raises concerns over patient safety if those working on the frontline are asked to work beyond clinical competence.
“While the government insists the NHS was better prepared than ever before for winter, this shows hospitals resorting to desperate measures to cope with a system struggling with increased demand and lack of staff and resources.”

The story was also covered in The Independent.

Health unions write letter pleading for emergency NHS funding boost

The Daily Mirror reports 12 major health trade unions including the BMA have written to the health secretary urging for an emergency funding boost and that the health service has the money it needs.

The letter states the £1.6bn extra in November’s Budget came “far too late” and the NHS is kept going only through the dedication of more than one million workers. It continues staff are working in “an overstretched service, for declining wages and under incredibly difficult conditions.”

The letter, which appeared in full in print, was signed by BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul and leaders from the TUC (Trade Union Congress), the Royal College of Nursing and the British Dietetic Association among others.

Despite cash lift, GP out-of-hours services struggle to fill shifts

The BMJ reports providers of out-of-hours GP services are struggling to fill gaps in their rotas in the face of "intense" pressure this winter, despite a £10m cash injection to help cover indemnity fees that was intended to ensure full coverage.

GP committee sessional subcommittee chair Dr Norris, has been gathering feedback from colleagues via the social media hashtag #nhspressure according to The BMJ and she said out-of-hours provision was "a disaster zone" because of the number of 111 calls that were being incorrectly triaged.

She added: "One colleague had a child who had been waiting 32 hours for a call back from a GP in an out-of-hours service that was linked to NHS 111. That's not a functioning service. How can we be asking our colleagues to work in that situation?"

GPs feel pressure of winter crisis

GPs are being forced to turn away patients because they do not have the capacity to safely treat the number of people seeking care this winter, doctors have warned, according to The BMJ.
In this Saturday’s magazine, GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said GPs feared the knock-on effect of the rise of flu cases. He added: “It could have a serious impact on the system as a whole.”


BMA Scotland council chair Dr Peter Bennie wrote an article exclusively for The Daily Record calling for action to address the myriad concerns facing the NHS.

In the article, Dr Bennie explained: “Patients deserve better. That is why there must be action. It is not enough simply to view the winter period in isolation. Instead, and first and foremost, we need an NHS that is effectively funded to deliver what we ask of it.“

He has also said that extreme pressures on the Scottish NHS this winter demonstrate the need for long term, sustainable solutions that address the growing gap between demand for services and the resources available to deliver them.

Dr Bennie told The Scotsman: “To be honest, it is not thanks that doctors and their colleagues want. Instead of gratitude, we need a long term, sustainable plan that closes the growing gap between resources – in particular finances - and the demand for services.”

Wales Online ran a piece on the levels of escalation faced by Welsh Hospitals across the past year. David Bailey, Chair of BMA’s Welsh Council, was quoted highlighting the exponential pressures faced by doctors and the need for long-term, sustainable solutions.

Other news

BBC News Online report that record numbers of children are having their teeth out as hospital operations increased to 43,000 this year as it reports that consumption of sugar and fizzy drinks has attributed to the increase.

The Observer ran a piece where they interviewed a number of frontline NHS staff who detail the difficulties of working within the current environment. All of the individual accounts point to an NHS that is in crisis.

Sky News Online reports that Jeremy Hunt is expected to clarify the impact that the liquidation of the Carillon, who provides catering, maintenance and cleaning work for the NHS, will have on patients as ministers are facing calls for guarantees that patients will still be fed.

BMA press release 4th Oct 2017 - Prime Minister must address crisis overwhelming NHS, warns BMA

Government to introduce 'state-backed' indemnity scheme for GP's

Health Secretary Announces Cash Boost for Rural GP's

Dept of Health and BMA press statements

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