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Locums make up nearly half of doctors in A&E

15th February 2013

A report by HCL Workforce Solutions has warned of a "chronic shortage of trained medics" in A&E departments in England.


Data which was released under a Freedom of Information Act revealed that one in eight doctors who worked during the week in A&E departments at 15 trusts were locums.

However at the two trusts who used the most locums this increased to almost one in five (17.8%) on weekends.

The report said the situation, "unless urgently and nationally addressed, will reach crisis point in the future."

The information showed that 40% of medics at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trusts were locums during the week and 41% of staff at South London Healthcare NHS Trust were locums over the weekend.

The report said: "Discussions between workforce planners, medical educators, professional institutions and Government policy makers all agree the ultimate price to pay for these elements not being managed appropriately is the risk to patient safety."

"Several trusts volunteered that they have difficulty recruiting substantive A&E doctors, and cite a national shortage of appropriately qualified medics as well as the lack of internal resources to focus on this specialised area of recruitment."

The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said recently that A&E departments were "overstretched and understaffed". 

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