Junior doctor shortage 'threatens patient care'

Ongoing shortages of junior doctors are threatening patient care and safety, the BMA Northern Ireland has warned.

The BMA’s Junior Doctor Committee in Northern Ireland said that the medical workforce is currently short of around 86 junior doctors.

But it said this is likely to rise to around 120 by February 2011, which it said could force trusts to withdraw services.

Dr David Farren, chairman of the Junior Doctor Committee in Northern Ireland said: ‘We have already seen this happen and junior doctors have been unfairly labelled as the instigators of the withdrawal of services.

'This is quite simply not the case as junior doctors are allocated where they will work by the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA).'

He added: ‘The bottom line is that there are not enough junior doctors working in Northern Ireland. This needs to be properly tackled to ensure that safe care is delivered to patients in the future.’

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