Patients could see operations postponed this summer as hospitals struggle to cope with the junior doctor recruitment fiasco, doctors’ leaders said last night.
Concern was voiced a week after two serious security breaches forced the Department of Health to suspend the new website junior doctors are meant to use to apply for jobs.
Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, told MPs this week that the website would only return to action once ministers were satisfied confidential information provided by junior doctors was secure.
However, consultants leaders warned the Government last night that the confusion had left hospitals in limbo, with no idea which junior doctors – if any – were going to start working for them this summer.
Stephen Campion, the chief executive of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, told Channel 4 News yesterday that he knew of at least one trust which had cancelled all leave for consultants to ensure there were enough staff to cope with patients booked in for operations and other treatment in August.
A number of hospitals were already drawing up contingency plans to cope with the expected problems.
Hospitals facing operations chaos