As the largest UK haematology organisation with members who cover all aspects of the specialty, we strongly believe that no-one should normalise unacceptable quality of care. The British Society for Haematology (BSH) therefore supports today’s uncharacteristically alarming report, Fixing the NHS, from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC). As multi-disciplinary speciality teams that are the lifeblood of the health service, short-staffed haematology departments endure unacceptable pressures and compromises on a daily basis.
The BSH submission to AoMRC, together with the Royal College of Pathologists, highlights that haematology workforce shortages are leading to delays in imaging, scheduling of tests (for example marrow assessment), treatment (scheduled chemotherapy) and clinic reviews. This leads to unmonitored disease progression, sometimes requiring hospital admission. There is an overwhelming sense that this is having an impact on survival rates.
We have shared moving testimonies from a consultant covering up to four vacant posts over a sustained period; reports of junior doctors leaving the medical profession due to unreasonable working conditions and a burned-out trainee dropping to part-time work to manage the mental health toll of dealing with emergency care whilst covering high volumes of inpatients in a team with only two of a required six registrars on site.
The BSH is currently investigating innovative solutions to deliver good quality care within a system that is “on a crisis footing” according to Professor Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of Council at AMRC. As the report states, clinicians don’t have all the answers but we must co-produce a new vision of health and care for our future with the public and policymakers.
The full report can be read here