A Carnforth GP has spoken out about a shortage of doctors after becoming the deputy chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) Council.
Dr David Wrigley said that Chorley Hospital will not be the only medical facility struggling for staff in the coming months. The hospital shut its A&E earlier this year because of staffing shortages and there is no immediate sign of it reopening.
He said: “It’s very difficult to find doctors that will work in accident and emergency because there’s a very severe shortage of doctors in the country now.”
Dr Wrigley, an ardent supporter of junior doctors’ opposition to the imposition of the new working hours contract, said he once crashed a car driving home from his shift as a young hospital doctor because of tiredness.
What he saw as the injustice of doctors’ working hours led him to become an active member of the BMA.
He has already chalked up experience as a member of the BMA Council and the BMA’s GP committee.
The 46-year-old father of two said that if doctors aren’t available or so demoralised they have chosen to work abroad then understaffed units will not be able to stay open or reopen. He said: “There’s a £28bn black hole in NHS funding. Politicians don’t really focus on it. They try and skip round it. This is going to happen more and more if politicians don’t grasp this nettle about funding.
“I will be focusing on issues like Chorley where there is closure of services. We’ve got to ask where do patients then go? I want to use this role to continue to highlight the huge funding challenges and pressure on frontline services as well as staff, which many politicians and policymakers appear to be oblivious to and which make it harder to deliver high-quality patient care. We also need to continue focusing on the cuts and ongoing marketisation within the NHS.”