Doctor spells out redundancy risks to patient safety
24 January 2013
Doctors leaders have warned the quality of mental health services will inevitably decline if plans to cut 500 medical posts at a trust go ahead.
The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is proposing to cut 33 per cent of consultant posts and 40 per cent of staff, associate specialist and specialty doctor posts by 2016.
BMA local negotiating committee chair Chris Jones has submitted the LNC's response to the 90-day consultation, which ended on January 21.
In the response to trust medical director Hadrian Ball, he expresses fears for patient safety if the plans proceed.
Dr Jones says: ‘We believe it is inevitable within these proposals that both quantity and quality of service delivery will decline, and this will result in significant risks to patient safety.’
Concerns are raised about the ability of the trust to maintain out-of-hours cover with significantly reduced numbers of medical staff.
Consultation lacked detail
He also expresses dissatisfaction with the way the consultation was carried out.
‘The consultation procedure itself has been lacking in sufficient details for meaningful dialogue, has been circumvented by the trust’s insistence on implementing some of the proposed changes even prior to the completion of the consultation, and does not, in our view, constitute for an adequate consultation,’ he says.
Dr Jones argues the reduction in consultants and SAS doctors ‘will mean there are significantly fewer senior medical staff to act as trainers and supervisors’. This will mean the ‘capacity to offer training for junior psychiatrists will be drastically reduced’.
He says the proposals ‘require radical redesign if they are not to have major adverse consequences for the quality of care received by our patients, and serious adverse consequences for their lives and the lives of those around them’.
BMA Eastern regional council secretary Robert Harwood wrote to local MPs this week urging them to ask the trust to ‘engage meaningfully with both its staff and stakeholders to agree a better way forward’.
The BMA had also been encouraging local members to take part in the consultation.
The story so far
Trust plans to cut psychiatry jobs
BMA urges input into jobs consultation
MPs urged to take action on job cuts