Consultant-delivered care will be the only way to ensure junior doctors get the training they need under the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) rules.
This is the message that comes out of Professor Sir John Temple's report: "Time for Training", an independent review of EWTD, published today.
The report was commissioned by Medical Education England (MEE) at the request of the former Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson.
Sir John’s report concludes that high quality training can be delivered within the reduced number of hours available but fails if trainees: have the major role in providing out of hours service; are poorly supervised or have limited access to learning.
"Time for Training" focuses on the quality of training provided now and says any current problems will not be solved by either increasing hours or lengthening training programmes.
The Review reveals that, despite an increase of more than 60% in consultant numbers over the past ten years, hospitals remain too reliant on junior doctors to provide out of hours services.
Sir John recommends a move to a consultant delivered service, with consultants working more flexibly and more directly responsible for care around the clock, leading to better quality of diagnosis, better decision making and better patient outcomes and safety.
Responding to the Review, Dr Shree Datta, Chair of the British Medical Association's Junior Doctors Committee said: "The report makes it clear that high quality training can be delivered within the constraints of the 48-hour working week, however, this is dependant on implementing the recommendations in full. It cannot simply be put on a shelf to gather dust and to do so would not be in the interests of junior doctors or our patients."
Dr Mark Porter, Chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said the call for a consultant-delivered service was something that the BMA has long advocated.
"It will assure a high quality of care for patients as and when they are in the greatest need. The challenge now is to work towards it in a systematic fashion instead of the current piecemeal approach, investing in consultant expertise to deliver high quality care," he said.