The medical profession will face a severe recruitment crisis if authorities do not act quickly to repair the damage to its reputation, the health service personnel managers body has warned.
John Adsett, secretary of the Association of HR Managers in the NHS, said new trainee doctors are asking themselves why they joined the profession.
He added, “I wonder whether it might put people off at the career choice stage, if they can go into research chemistry where the rewards may be better.”
He said it was tragic that the innovation and care of the vast majority should be overshadowed by the actions of “one or two really bad eggs who hit the headlines”.
The scandals have involved the serial killer GP Harold Shipman, the unrepentant gynaecologist Rodney Ledward, who was struck off for harming women in operations, and the Bristol hospital case where babies died in surgery.
Clinicians are furious at the cases, and at Ledward’s denial of wrong-doing, he added.
“If you talk to some of our consultants they are as appalled by his comments as Joe Public is,” said Adsett, who is head of personnel at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust in Essex.
The situation highlights the recruitment problems in the public sector, particularly as private sector earnings have raced ahead.