Cuts to doctors’ rotas are putting patients’ lives at risk, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.
A BMA poll of 1,500 junior doctors found that six out of 10 are “regularly forced” to work in casualty departments where there are not enough staff.
They also said they were expected to cover shifts where the gaps should have been filled by specialist trainees with at least five years’ experience, reports Metro.
The poll showed that hospitals were struggling to cope, just six months after the introduction of European guidelines to cut junior doctors’ working hours to 48 a week.
Shree Datta, chair of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, said: “It is hugely alarming to find so many doctors are working in teams short of experienced doctors.
“In settings such as A&E, which is experiencing the highest levels of under-staffing, it is especially critical that experienced specialists are on hand to make the decisions that can mean the difference between life and death.”
The BMA said its figures were at odds with government statistics, which show that only 2% of positions on rotas were unfulfilled.