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Locum doctors 'putting Scottish patients at risk'

Published on 30/06/2010
The growing reliance on locum (substitute) doctors is putting patient safety at risk, an expert has claimed.

Professor Chris Isle, of Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Scotland, said it is becoming harder for hospitals to fill the gaps in their staff rotas.

This is because many of the locums available are under-qualified, inexperienced and over-worked, he wrote in the British Medical Journal, while some will exaggerate their qualifications to receive higher pay.

"A huge amount of time has been wasted attempting to book doctors with little experience of working in the UK, whose competencies I have been unable to assess, who did not always have the right paperwork, and who could break an agreement at will and without repercussion," Professor Isle wrote.

Demand for locum doctors by NHS trusts has increased since the European Working Time Directive was implemented, limiting the amount of overtime that doctors can perform, although it is possible to opt out of this.

A report issued by the Royal College of Surgeons of England last year indicated there would not be enough surgeons to fill rotas if they all limited themselves to a 58 hour working week.

The research also indicated that 68 per cent of trainee doctors felt the quality of their training had deteriorated as a result of the move to shift-working patterns.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
Locum doctors 'putting Scottish patients at risk'The growing reliance on locum (substitute) doctors is putting patient safety at risk, an expert has claimed.Professor Chris Isle, of Dumfrie    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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