RCPCH President outlines challenges for paediatric workforce
This month Dr Hilary Cass, the new President of the RCPCH, has spoken about the challenges facing the paediatric workforce - and outlined the College's approach to overcoming them.
In an interview with the Health Service Journal this month, she said:
'Our mortality rates for children aged 0 to 16 is higher in the UK than other parts of Western Europe. There are failings in primary and secondary care that we have got to address and it is not acceptable that the sickest patients can sometimes be seen by the most junior doctor.'
Dr Cass acknowledged that consultants cost more to employ than middle grade doctors, but said:
'If you deliver better quality of care and better decision making about who you admit and who you don’t admit and you get things right first time, then in the longer term that can be cheaper.'
She talked about the idea of taking paediatric care out into the community with centralised hubs able to offer specialised hospital care. Hospitals could be 'paediatric magnets' but primary care could be a better setting for some services while the public would be prepared to travel further for specialist care if they were confident in the expertise on offer. This would include closer working with the nursing profession such as advanced nurse practitioners.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Cass said:
'Paediatrics is currently a popular specialism, particularly among female medics, but that means many work reduced hours in their 30s as they juggle their careers with young families.'
Dr Cass talked about the College's support for a Consultant Delivered Care model. For information on the RCPCH's work in this area, see: http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/cdc
Dr Cass was also interviewed for the Guardian Healthcare Network's 'five minutes with...' slot. Read the piece here.
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