BMA sets out vision for reforming ‘unsafe, underfunded’ NHS

The BMA has outlined its vision for an ‘unsafe’ NHS with a culture of bullying

According to the BMA, doctors are working in hospitals and GP Practices that are hugely understaffed, where bullying and a culture of blame is the norm and where patient care is often unsafe.

These are the findings of a year-long study – ‘Caring Supportive Collaborative: Doctors Vision for Change‘ – into the state of the NHS.

The chair of the BMA Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:

“Nine in 10 doctors tell us that staffing levels are inadequate and that they work in environments where they fear the toxic combination of ever-increasing demand for services and lack of staff capacity will lead to mistakes.

“They tell us there is a persistent culture of fear across the NHS, where blame stifles learning, contributing to the vicious cycle of low morale so staff leave and then there’s a problem of recruitment.

“This unsafe, underfunded environment is as damaging for patients as it is for doctors. Radical change is clearly needed.”

From the report comes a manifesto, which has today been sent to MPs, as well as the secretary of state for health and social care.

In it, the BMA outlines several priorities needed to change the culture and improve patient safety.  These include;

  • Address the funding gap by increasing spending across the UK by at least 4.1% per year to put the NHS on a sustainable long-term footing. This equates to an extra £9.5bn by 2023/24.

  • Legislation in England to ensure accountability for safe staffing levels and that individual clinicians are not blamed when the system places them under unmanageable pressure.

  • Review the CQC with the intention of introducing reforms which will deliver a truly proportionate regulatory system.

  • Invest in a comprehensive IT programme so the NHS has access to the right IT equipment and facilities to provide the best care for patients. This includes basic IT infrastructure and access to high-speed broadband, and to have full digitalisation of all patient records.

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The Caring Supportive Collaborative project sets out recommendations for governments, parliamentarians, commissioners and those in leadership positions across the NHS to create a truly sustainable NHS; one which is underpinned by adequate funding and decent terms and conditions for doctors.

Only when this is done, the BMA believes, will we have improved the care for patients and better working lives for doctors.

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