BMA attacks lack of DoH workforce plans

A lack of workforce planning will leave thousands of surplus GPs and junior doctors unable to get jobs in a few years, according to the BMA.

A DoH document leaked last week estimated that there would be a shortage of 1,200 GPs in three years and a surplus of 3,200 consultants (GP, 12 January).

But the BMA said that in the longer term the abolition of senior house officer posts will mean too many of all doctors for training places.

‘We know there will shortly be a huge bulge in the number of junior doctors chasing training jobs due to the abolition of the senior house officer grade,' said BMA chairman James Johnson.

‘That bulge will feed through to fully trained doctors looking for work as consultants or GPs. It costs around £250,000 to train a doctor plus many more years of specialist training.

If juniors cannot secure suitable jobs in the future within the NHS they may look overseas for employment. What a disastrous waste of public money.'

He said that the DoH would need to look at workforce planning ‘urgently'.

The news comes as research in the Postgraduate Medical Journal finds that one in four specialist trainee doctors in England views their future job prospects as poor or very worrying and 61 per cent of specialist registrars consider that as consultants they will need to work directly in the community.

Mr Johnson was also concerned about public health and service reconfiguration over the next year.The government is expected to rule on Sir Liam Donaldson's review of regulation in the next few weeks and Mr Johnson believed it was likely to spell the end to self-regulation.He also said that there was only one year before record investment ended and the NHS either broke even or accepted that the it may have to change completely.

This could take the form of patients contributing financially to their care, fewer services or delayed treatment. He added: ‘If we spend 9 per cent of national income on the NHS and we can't make it work, people will ask: do we need something fundamentally different?'

However the DoH labelled his worries ‘doom-mongering' and said that it was fully committed to public funding.

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