Specialist doctors face jobs squeeze

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The Independent Online
HUNDREDS OF gynaecologists face being made redundant despite an urgent need for more specialists because of "shambolic" workforce planning, the British Medical Association said yesterday.

Government failures and cost-cutting local authorities reluctant to create much-needed consultant posts in obstetrics and gynaecology mean that by 2001 there will be 500 specialists competing for 100 jobs.

Despite repeated warnings, the Government did not revise its predictions for the number of consultant posts and over the years continued to accept doctors on to the specialist training scheme, said the BMA.

However, only 28 consultant posts were created in obstetrics and gynaecology last year. Training places were calculated on the assumption that consultant posts would expand by about 7 per cent, when the rate is just 2 per cent.

Consultants are already receiving notices of termination of their contracts and are leaving the NHS for jobs abroad, according to the BMA. At the same time there have been repeated calls for the creation of more gynaecologist posts, with experts warning that women and babies have died because of lack of consultant care.

The BMA warned that the loss of up to 400 consultants was a "human tragedy" and would cost up to pounds 40m in wasted money.