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Shortages of staff and equipment weigh on doctors’ decisions, survey reveals

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Staff shortages and a lack of equipment are affecting the day-to-day decisions about patient care by doctors and nurses, a new YouGov survey has revealed.

The representative survey of NHS clinicians revealed more than half, 54%, admitted that factors such as a lack of staff played a role in their decisions about patients beyond what was in their best interests.

Almost a third of staff, 31%, said staffing levels were the top factor affecting decisions about patients. A fifth said the availability of services such as key tests were a significant factor; 16% cited a lack of equipment; and 12% cited beds. 10% of clinicians said a fear of being sued was part of their decision-making.

YouGov carried out the research for JMW Solicitors and weighted the responses to be representative of the NHS workforce population.

It also revealed more than two-fifths of clinicians, 42%, believe a “blame culture” in the NHS plays a top role in preventing staff admitting to mistakes in care.

In maternity services specifically, 68% of nurses and midwives said at least one factor other than what was in patients’ best interest played a role in their decisions.

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Source: The Independent, 20 December 2020

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