The timing of the Medical Protection Society survey (click here to see the MPS article) coincides with ‘Black Wednesday’ – the day when newly qualified doctors start on hospital wards.  The name has arisen from anecdotal concerns about poor levels of care, mistakes and an increased fatality rate as newly qualified doctors get to grips with their role and responsibilities.  Of course starting somewhere new is always going to be difficult for everyone so it is unfair to criticise junior doctors but it is concerning that they often do not appear to be given the support they need in the early days, meaning patient safety might be jeopardised. 

The survey also raises wider issues about patient safety, beyond the care provided by junior doctors.  For example, 51% of Foundation Year 1 doctors said they had concerns about the quality of care in their workplace.  This is a staggering number. 

The survey also reflects the underlying cause of many clinical negligence cases: lack of time and lack of staff.  71% of Foundation Year 1 doctors said they did not have enough time to give patients the care they require and 39% said having more doctors on the ward would increase job satisfaction (presumably meaning their concerns about patient care would be alleviated).

Many of the clinical negligence cases Anthony Collins Solicitors investigate arise from the simple problem of hospital management not providing enough staff.  Our clients often praise most of the doctors and nurses they came across but have concerns that there simply were not enough doctors or nurses available to actually provide the care and treatment they needed.  Our solicitors aim to investigate the underlying reasons for poor care, rather than criticise individual doctors and nurses, who we recognise are often overworked and trying their best in very difficult circumstances.

For more information 

If you have any queries about this article or would like to know more about a potential clinical negligence claim, please contact Ann Houghton on 0121 212 7478 or ann.houghton@anthonycollins.com.

Anthony Collins Solicitors have a dedicated specialist clinical negligence team, with Legal 500 and Chambers UK Guide recommending Anthony Collins Solicitors as one of the leading law firms in Clinical Negligence in the West Midlands.

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