The government has announced that junior doctors will now have to spend at least four days shadowing their first job to avoid medical mistakes.
The system of working will be introduced in August, usually a time of the year when death rates go up in hospitals as new doctors start work.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, believes that the move would improve patient safety during a period of the year that has been dubbed ‘killing season’, after results revealed that death rates increased by eight per cent.
“The intention is to end the so-called killing season,” he said.
“This is good news for patients – we recognise the change-over period in August puts patients at risk. Junior doctors are under stress as they change from being a student to a professional and they need help to adapt to a working environment when they’ve never done a job before.”
Trial Period In Bristol Shows Reduction In Medical Mistakes
The introduction of the new scheme follows a successful trial period in Bristol where the number of medical mistakes made by new doctors was reduced by 52%.
The number of errors that had left patients permanently damaged was also reduced from five, down to one.
The cross-over period will be spent mainly shadowing other junior doctors who have already spent time in the role. During their initial shadowing period new junior doctors will learn about procedures in place at their hospital and get to familiarise themselves with other members of staff.
Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, welcomed the changes to improve patient safety. She said:
“This is an excellent idea and will be a great relief to patients.
“We all know how difficult it is when you start a completely new job – but for a doctor there are lives at risk.”
Speak To A Medical Negligence Specialist About Medical Mistakes
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