13 Dec 2011
Newly qualified doctors feel poorly prepared to look after very ill patients, according to a new study.
Their more senior colleagues also do not believe they have the right skills to deal with acutely ill patients, the research found.
There has been heavy criticism over the last few years of the fact junior doctors are often left dealing with very sick patients at weekends and bank holidays.
Last month, the Hospital Guide, from Dr Foster Intelligence, found patients needing emergency care are almost 10% more likely to die if they are admitted to hospitals on weekends. They are also less likely to get prompt treatment.
Hospitals with the fewest senior doctors on duty had the highest death rates, reflecting concerns about a lack of consultant cover.
But the latest research, published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, also suggests the education of junior doctors is a key issue.
Experts analysed the results of 10 studies on the views of newly qualified doctors, consultants and education supervisors about junior doctor preparedness.
The research found that junior doctors felt poorly prepared for dealing with acutely sick patients compared with other aspects of care.
More senior doctors also agreed with this assessment. Furthermore, those studies which enabled people to expand on their responses found that acute care consistently showed up as an area of concern.
The papers also suggest the problem has got worse since the introduction of new standards for medical training introduced by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2003.