Health: Doctors

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have undertaken to ascertain the effect of gaps in junior and middle-grade doctor rotas on patient safety.

Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Quality assurance of middle and junior rota gaps began in March 2009 and continued until July 2009.

Trusts were asked to report via the strategic health authorities (SHAs) on potential service risks around the August 2009 medical change over dates.

The trusts were asked to report on the impact of the European working time directive, as well as any shortfall in specialty recruitment and shortages of medical locums. A risk rating for each trust was provided along with mitigating actions.

Daily situation reporting arrangements were set up to cover the first two weeks of August 2009.

From August 2009, only those rotas experiencing compliance difficulties were monitored.

The return in January 2010 reported a continual improvement in the compliance position and a steady reduction of the number of rotas reporting difficulties.

SHAs and trusts will manage any future monitoring.

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