Gaps in doctor rotas in Wales are ‘regular and frequent’

  • June 10, 2019
  • Understaffing in Welsh hospitals, as shown by gaps in doctors’ rotas, will result in increased workloads and is a problem that “needs to be solved”, according to Dr Gareth Llewelyn, Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

    Recommendations for improvement

    The RCP, who represent over 1,300 doctors in Wales, has made numerous recommendations for improvements to the system, confirming that hospitals in Wales are “understaffed and overstretched.” In 2018, a third of advertised consultant physician posts were unfilled.

    Rota gaps are becoming a big issue within Welsh hospitals, and various grades of staff – from junior doctors to consultants – have all reported issues. More than a third of consultants have had to “act down” to cover these gaps.

    The RCP has made the following observations and recommendations:

    • The number of students from Wales applying to study medicine in Cardiff and Swansea is rising, but progress is still slow and more needs to be done to promote careers in medicine to children from all backgrounds and all parts of Wales
    • More should be done to create initiatives to encourage junior doctors to consider long-term career options in Wales, such as flexible working
    • Health boards need to think differently about how (and who) they are recruiting, after only 43% of advertised consultant jobs were filled last year in north Wales
    • After rota gaps, the next biggest concern for doctors is lack of capacity in social care to transfer patients home or into the community. Many of those who are well enough to leave hospital “remain trapped in the system.”

    A spokesperson of the Welsh Government has stated: “We have commissioned Health Education and Improvement Wales to develop a new workforce strategy for the NHS by the end of next year.”

    Fahmidah Ali of Medical Accident Group, commented: “it is really important that recruitment processes within the NHS are improved and it is reassuring that steps are being taken to implement this.”

    If you or a family member have been affected by staffing shortages, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors who will guide you through the process of making a claim. Call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at

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