NHS Trust shuts department over Middle & Junior Doctor Shortages

Dr Chris Streather, the Trusts Chief Executive said that \”A clinical safety review carried out by independent senior clinicians commissioned by NHS London across all of our sites, and supported by the Trust\’s medical and nursing directors, has concluded that there are significant safety risks, particularly in regard to a serious shortage of emergency medicine middle and junior grade doctors, and midwives. We can\’t take a risk that this situation would become unsustainable during the winter months. This review makes clear that this presents an unacceptable level of risk to patients and we therefore regret the need to recommend to the Trust Board a planned temporary closure of the A&E and maternity Units at Queen Mary\’s while the Trust attempts to redress these issues through continued recruitment efforts, and discussions with the deaneries in relation to the provision of junior clinicians. We have asked all of our neighbouring Trusts for assistance but none are able to provide the clinical support that is necessary.\”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that \”Patient safety and high quality care must remain the priority for the NHS. The A&E and obstetric services at Queen Mary\’s should temporarily close while there are concerns that they don\’t meet the high standards that patients deserve. The Secretary of State has pledged that, in future, all service changes must be led from the bottom up by clinicians, patients and local authorities with an improved focus on quality. The goal of any change to services must be to ensure patients get the best care possible, delivered to the highest standards in the most effective, efficient and personalised way.”

The General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Peter Carter, said that \”We believe that the Government genuinely wants to protect frontline services, but what we are seeing on the ground are thousands of jobs cut, vacancies frozen, staff down-banded and services closed. We have got a mini baby boom going on at the same time as the population overall is ageing. Many of these elderly people have chronic conditions. The NHS drugs bill is rising by around 10 per cent a year but the settlement we are expecting to get from the Treasury is around 1.5 per cent a year.\”

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