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Lack of offices hinders doctors

14th April 2008

A poll by the British Medical Association showed that hospital doctors report they are hindered in carrying out their job by a lack of offices.

DoctorAtPC2

600 doctors were interviewed for the poll, with three-fifths saying not enough desk space or PCs caused delays in completing important jobs (for example composing a discharge letter).

50% of junior doctors and 25% of consultants stated that "there was less space available" then there had been a year before. More than one third said "changes to either the quantity or quality" of the spaces they could use had affected patient care.

The poll showed that cutbacks and managers' requests for rooms had impacted how much space could be used by doctors.

One of the doctors who was interviewed for the poll, Dr Esther Knight-Terlouw, said she had been employed in an hospital where only one computer was available to doctors.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA's Consultants Committee, said: "The plush, spacious, consultant's office is a figment of television imagination."

"Many consultants, junior doctors, and staff and associate specialist grade doctors have no office space at all."

Dr Fielden said that the information doctors handled was often confidential and they needed areas to have "private conversations".

Nigel Edwards, policy director of the NHS Confederation NHS trusts, acknowledged that it was important for doctors to have access to enough office space. He added that a considerable rise in the amount of doctors had added to the "pressure on office space".




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