"There is no question but that it has been challenging to work towards full compliance. The NHS has over 46,000 doctors in training at any one time. Incidentally, there is no vacancy problem, as the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) suggested. On the last set of figures, we had a 95 per cent. fill rate; there is absolutely no vacancy problem anywhere in the country that I know of. This is a service that by its very nature has to operate for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trainee doctors need to train and work in as many medical disciplines as possible to become good doctors. Hospitals have had to make dramatic changes to how staff work. So, yes, it has been difficult, but it is simply not true to say that the NHS is ill prepared to achieve full compliance by August this year. We have provided substantial financial support to the NHS to help it to meet the requirements of the directive—£110 million in the current financial year, rising to £310 million for the year to come."
Either Mr Johnson is incredibly ignorant of what is going on in his own department or he is telling big fat porkies. For many reasons there is a staffing crisis at many junioir doctor levels in the NHS, numerous rotas are being run short of multiple staff members, meaning that doctors are missing out on training and patient care is suffering.
A recent survey of surgeons in training showed that over 50% of surgical rotas were significantly short of staff, and this is not an isolated problem for surgery, it is occurring across the board and it is not good for anyone. Doctors are getting overly tired covering the gaps while patients will be getting less continuity of care, as well as less time dedicated to their various problems.
The blame for this lies with the government thanks to their stupid reform that has led to non-EU doctors being kicked out, all doctors changing on the same day every year and hundreds quitting the NHS due to their great disillusionment. This is all compounded by reducing working hours thanks to EWTD and the fact that the BMA are doing nothing about this serious problem. NHS Trusts cannot find locum cover to fill these gaps, while even if they can it is very expensive and wasting a lot of money needlessly. Well done Mr Johnson et al, you have shafted a generation of doctors and now the patients are suffering too.