Most hospitals aren’t ready for Jeremy Hunt’s disastrous NHS reforms for Junior Doctors

The majority of hospitals have made no plans to factor in Jeremy Hunt’s major changes to the NHS which will see seven day care and huge changes to Junior Doctor conditions.

Four out of five NHS hospitals are not prepared to run extra weekend services, while those which have budgeted said they could need up to £8.5 million a year in fresh funding to pay for extra care.

The seven day care promise means young medics could be forced to work weekends without reward.

The Government has angered Junior Doctors by threatening to change their standard contract – a move that will result in a 30 per cent pay cut, longer working hours and worse conditions.


It has been described as a “recipe for disaster” which are “a threat to patient safety” by senior cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra.Junior Doctors are now being balloted for strike action by the British Medical Association (BMA), which blasted the new contract as a “disaster” which would see young doctors leaving the NHS in droves.Speaking about the issue today, Dr Malhotra told Sky News: “There’s a huge amount of stress in the system and if you make doctors work more hours without extra resources that stress is only going to increase and this is a threat to patient safety.”Making doctors work more than they already are in a system under pressure is a recipe for disaster.”

The Government has claimed changes to Junior Doctors’ contracts are needed because they are currently “outdated”.But in a stinging outburst Dr Malhotra turned the tables on Mr Hunt, insisting it is the Tory minister’s view of the NHS which is 10 years out of date.He said: “What the Health Secretary is suggesting is that doctors should go back to that old system where there are doctors working longer hours.”The problem is demands on healthcare have gone up astronomically in the last few years it’s very different to what it was 10 years ago, so I just think it’s not viable.”Another doctor, Linda Papadopolous, said: “You’re working 56 hour weekends with bouts of two or three hours sleep. How on earth are you able to function well?”

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Making doctors work more
Jeremy Hunt’s plans have been savagely criticised by doctors and health leaders, who say they cannot be achieved without significant new funding.And today those criticisms were backed up by NHS hospitals themselves, who revealed that dozens of new staff would need to be drafted in to fulfil the Government’s pledge.A total of 119 of the 155 NHS hospital trusts responded to a Freedom of Information request asking what plans they had put in place.

Of those 62 said they have made no preparations for increasing weekend services, whilst 35 are only just beginning to calculate costs and staffing needs.

Dr Paul Flynn, chairman of the BMA’s consultants’ committee, said many trusts had been unable to make calculations because the Government has been unclear about which services they would have to provide at weekends.He said: “You can’t take the work we are doing over five days and spread it over seven. That’s simply not going to work.”Hospitals are under considerable pressure at the moment just to provide current services.”It was never credible to think that we could have a step-change in the quality of what they were doing and also stay still in terms of finances.”

Those that have made the calculation reveal the astronomical cost of implementing the pledge.Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Swindon estimated it would need 14 more consultants and £7.2 million to extend its services, while Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals said its total bill would be £8.5 million, with 34 more consultants required.Figures released this month revealed patients admitted to NHS hospitals on weekends are more likely to die than if they are admitted during the week, with Mr Hunt calling the data a “wake-up call”.Read original article here