BMA response to Government NHS workforce figures

Deputy Chairman of the BMA Consultants' Committee, Dr Jonathan Fielden, made the following statement:

"The BMA welcomes the increase in hospital doctor numbers in England, announced today. We are also pleased to hear that the Government is confident that it will meet its target of 7,500* extra consultants by the end of the year.

The UK is critically short of doctors so it is vital that numbers continue to grow. It is important that the best use is made of doctors, especially given the current challenges.

In nine days time, the European Working Time Directive for junior doctors will cut the number of manpower hours available by 213,000 hours a week ? equivalent to 3,700 doctors. We need increased doctor numbers simply to tread water.

We are also concerned that some trusts are still not working with their senior doctors to fully implement the consultant contract. Consultants are willing to work extra hours until more doctors come on board but quite rightly want to be paid for this."

Chairman of the BMA General Practitioners' Committee, Dr Hamish Meldrum, added the following:

"It is pleasing that there are finally substantial increases in the numbers of GPs in England. However, it is crucial that the number of GPs continues to expand if we are to deliver the health services envisaged in the NHS plan."

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