A new report from the General Medical Council (GMC) says doctors are being forced to bypass clinical checklists in order to get through workload.
The state of medical education and practice in the UK report states that some doctors are feeling the need to take certain measures to cope with increasing patient numbers, some of which may be piling more pressure on other parts of the system.
The measures used include making referrals to other doctors that are not strictly necessary, ordering blood tests that may not be needed, and bypassing clinical checklists in order to get through the workload. “Almost three out of 10 surveyed doctors reported seeing, at least once a week, clinical protocols and clinical checklists not followed correctly owing to pressure of work,” the report states.
Research commission by the GMC to inform the report indicates that many primary and secondary care doctors are considering a career change to step away from the heavy workload. Around a third of 2,600 doctors surveyed were considering reducing their hours in the next three years and a fifth were planning go part time. Another fifth planned to leave the UK to work abroad. Twenty-one per cent of 45-54-year-old doctors and two-thirds of 55-64-year-olds were planning to take early retirement by 2021.
Commenting on the report, GMC Chair, Professor Sir Terence Stephenson said: “All healthcare leaders have acknowledged this: now is the time to act. That means being prepared to change long-established paradigms of what it means to educate and train doctors and what it means to have a sustained career in the profession. Failure to turn wringing hands into helping hands risks undermining 70 years of work to create a world leading healthcare system.”