Letter: Obstetrics in crisis
Friday 14 May 1999
Sir: I am partly if not largely responsible for the apparent surplus of trained specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology, and to some extent those in other specialities (letter, 12 May).
A few years ago there was a surplus of consultant posts over trained applicants in obstetrics and gynaecology in particular, but also in some other specialities. At that time politicians of all the main parties agreed that there was an urgent priority to train sufficient doctors to fill sufficient consultant posts to ensure that we had a consultant-based service. This means that the patient would normally be seen by a consultant or have a consultant in close contact with their care. This entailed a promise to fund sufficient additional consultant posts.
Since then these promises have vanished. The priority seems to be to reduce waiting lists and times, which can be measured, and ignore failures in acute care in general and the labour ward in particular, which are not scored and published. These may result in lost or damaged children.
Previously, because of a shortage of applicants, the "purchasers" removed offered funding for new consultant posts. The only way to avoid a repetition was to trust the politicians' promises and train sufficient doctors to meet an expansion agreed between the profession, the Department of Health and the health authorities. This we did. The promises are not being met; the public is about to lose the result of at least five years of intensive training in doctors not appointed to consultant posts.
Strong public pressure is needed for consultant expansion so that an acceptable level of care is provided, particularly in the labour ward.
JOHN ATKINS FRCOG
Swainby, North Yorkshire
The writer was formerly representative of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges on the Speciality Workforce Advisory Group.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture