BMA survey finds little or no confidence the NHS can deal with the looming demand


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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Thousands of doctors say they have little or no confidence in being able to manage patient demand in the coming weeks. The finding comes from a survey of 10,328 doctors, which was carried out by the BMA between 13 and 15 May.

When asked how confident they were in their department’s ability to manage patient demand as normal NHS services are resumed, 18.61 per cent of respondents in England said they were not at all confident. Another 33.44 per cent said they were not very confident.

Almost one in four were not at all confident their local health economy can deal with the oncoming demand for services.

The lowest level of confidence was for managing demand in the community, with more than two-thirds saying they were not very or not at all confident. Around 60 per cent said they had little or no confidence that demand for tests, scans and other diagnostic investigations could be properly managed.

Commenting on the findings, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “When thousands of doctors are telling us they continue to have little or no confidence in being able to manage the levels of demand for care from patients without Covid 19, it begs the question, What evidence is the Westminster government using to believe that normal NHS services can resume?”

“Last month the Government insisted that before lockdown was eased, the NHS must be able to cope. These results clearly show that doctors on the frontline feel this is not the case. The BMA is regularly surveying doctors across the UK and this is the second time they are telling us about very low confidence levels.”

“And yet only days ago, NHS England produced a road map to support healthcare services to resume routine treatments and operations in the next six weeks. Patients who have not had the care they needed are understandably worried and a delay in any care is a risk, but it is equally wrong to raise expectation in this way if there is simply no way that the demand can be met.”

"With more than 7 million people on hospital waiting lists, the Westminster Government must set out a clear and tangible plan of how the system will have capacity both for the ongoing demands of the pandemic, as well as resuming services for those patients who are left in limbo,” Dr Nagpaul said.