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Letter: regulators must act to protect patients from fall-out from junior doctors dispute

As the junior doctors escalate their industrial action, Susan Osborne asks : where are the regulators in all this?

As the junior doctors escalate their industrial action, which is predominately about an insufficient number of doctors available to provide safe care, my question is : where are the regulators in determining a safe ratio of clinician to patient in all this?

The General Medical Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, and of course the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), can't just wait on the sidelines for something to go wrong. 

Last June the NMC issued advice to nurses telling them that if they feel staffing where they work is unsafe they must act, otherwise they are culpable.

The health mInister, Lord Prior, has made it very clear that this government will not mandate nurse ratios, but as an unqualified clinician does he have the power to override clinical judgement?  

Isn't it time the NMC, GMC and HCPC took some action themselves and issued joint guidance in the face of what is clearly a potential serious threat to patient safety? 

Susan Osborne

Chair, Safe Staffing Alliance

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