Letter: Jobless doctors

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The Health Secretary has pointed out that "you can have all the money in the world, but you still need trained doctors and it takes a long time to train them." ("Sleepy doctors make dangerous mistakes", 3 August).

In our specialty, obstetrics and gynaecology, the number of doctors eligible to take up consultant posts now runs into three figures. Unfortunately there are no posts for them to fill. There are many more doctors who are currently unable to enter the lower specialist registrar grade. Usually there are more than a hundred applicants per registrar post. It seems a spectacular waste of resources to train these doctors and then to deny them a future.

To suggest that safety during and after surgery can only be improved by training more doctors from scratch makes an excuse for continuing with an unsafe situation for longer than necessary. Unless money is made available to create new consultant posts, consultant numbers cannot increase.



Imperial College School of Medicine

London SW10