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Polyclinics will not improve care, consultants tell BMA

Six out of 10 consultants say polyclinics will not improve patient care and 83 per cent fear privatisation of the NHS is detrimental to patient care and the service overall.

The survey, carried out by the British Medical Association, says that over half of respondents say they are prevented from innovating to improve patient care and seven in 10 lack adequate resources to support their work. The policy of patients having a choice over where to have treatment was supported by 69 per cent of respondents.

The BMA Central Consultants and Specialists Committee (CCSC) commissioned this survey on consultant opinion to gather information about consultant members’ views on labour government health policies, how changes are affecting consultants ability to care for their patients and to work to their full potential as trained professionals.

Consultant member views were gathered to ensure that members’ views were represented in future discussions on these issues. and to inform the BMA’s evidence to the review body on doctors’ and dentists’ remuneration (DDRB).

Key findings of the survey
* A total of 1,587 complete responses were received with an overall response rate of 31.7 per cent.

* Only 7 per cent of respondents remain on the pre-2003 contract.

* The average number of PAs included in the job plans of respondents on a full time contract was 11.3. 60 per cent of all respondents stated that the number of PAs accurately reflected the level of direct clinical care undertaken. The average number of SPAs included in the job plans of respondents on a full-time contract was 2.5. 55 per cent of all respondents stated that the number of SPAs did not adequately reflect the work involved.

* The average number of hours worked per week for respondents on a full time contract was 50.73 with almost one in five working more than 55 hours a week.

* There was overwhelming support for further change to the CEA scheme to improve its ability to reward excellence and general support for all awards being made available locally.

* 85 per cent of respondents indicated that there was a process in their Trust for consulting with consultants on contractual and human resource (HR) matters. This was for the most part via the Local Negotiating committee or through the job planning and appraisal process.

* There was overwhelming support for the view that consultants should be leaders and innovators in clinical practice. 52 per cent of respondents believed that consultants were actually prevented from innovation in support of patient care.

* Two thirds (66 per cent) reported that the numbers should be expanded in their departments, 31 per cent reported they should remain the same. 78 per cent of respondents reporting affordability as the reason for their response that consultant numbers should remain the same.

* 70 per cent of respondents reported that they did not have adequate resources to support them in their roles as consultants. Of those respondents who reported they did not have adequate resources 63 per cent of responses from respondents reported lack of secretarial support, 48 per cent reporting a lack of IT and a further 48 per cent a lack of managerial support.

* 60 per cent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that polyclinics would improve the quality of patient care and almost two in five disagreed or strongly disagreed that polyclinics would improve patient access to treatment.

* 73 per cent of respondents reported that the direction of government policy to expand use of the private sector was detrimental to patients and the service as a whole. 83 per cent of respondents reported that privatisation of the NHS would be detrimental to patients and the service as a whole.

From:
http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/Surveyconsultantopinion08

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