Staffing by numbers in the NHS

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7362.453 (Published 31 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:453

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We need to think in terms of teams and what they achieve

  1. Fiona Moss, associate postgraduate dean (fmoss@londondeanery.ac.uk)
  1. London Department of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education, London WC1N 1DZ

    Worldwide, the variation in the number of doctors and nurses employed per capita is huge, but little guidance or evidence exists about the optimum number for any given system of care. Fewer doctors and nurses per capita work in the United Kingdom than in other developed countries. There is a consensus that not enough healthcare professionals work in the NHS and that some problems of the NHS—for example, waiting lists, waiting times to see specialists, and access to radiotherapy—would be ameliorated with more trained staff.

    Over the past decade the number of doctors working in the NHS increased by 44%, and further expansion is planned. So, the Audit Commission's latest report, Medical Staffing, based on data collected in 2001 from 88% of acute trusts in England and Wales, is timely.1 The Audit Commission has prepared individual tailored performance reports for each trust Some interesting signposts emerge from the national findings. Restricting junior doctors' working hours to 56 hours a week (the “New Deal”) is a priority for hospitals in the United Kingdom. Financial penalties have forced change. Most training posts in emergency medicine, radiology, and pathology are now compliant with the …

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