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Doctors believe patient safety compromised

19th August 2011

A survey of doctors has found many believe patient safety is compromised by the August intake of medical trainees.

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The study for the Society of Acute Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh found as many as 90% felt the intake of medical trainee doctors starting their training posts at the beginning of August had a negative impact on patient safety.

It wants a reform of the system in Scotland and across the UK.

The first Wednesday of August is the day that some 50,000 doctors in the UK change posts with new trainees joining and existing trainees moving into new positions.

The RCPE pointed to evidence of a higher early death rate for patients who came into hospital at this time.

Lead author of the report, consultant physician in acute medicine Dr Louella Vaughan said: “The results of this survey add to the emerging evidence base which indicates that the current August changeover system increases a number of risks for patients, including an increased early death rate for patients admitted to hospital at this time.”

The survey of about 750 doctors was published in the journal Clinical Medicine and urged a staggered transition from posts over a period of a month to reduce the impact.

While the Scottish government said it would consider the findings of the study a spokesman added: “We have absolutely no evidence to link the national training changeover of doctors in August to any increased risks to patient safety in NHS Scotland.”

 

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