Staff crunch hits British hospitals

London, Jan 21 (IANS) A drastic shortage of doctors in British hospitals is forcing the managements to seek army medics’ help, a media report said Saturday.

Health chiefs say there is a serious shortage of experienced doctors such as registrars who are prepared to work outside major cities, the Daily Express reported.
Nine posts are vacant at Pontefract General Infirmary in West Yorkshire despite an extensive recruitment drive. The crisis has forced the hosp-ital to close its accident and emergency department between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. In desperation the local health trust has called on the army for help.
Scandal-hit Stafford Hospital became the first to get military aid in November last year when two battlefield surgeons and four senior army nurses were drafted in.
The situation is more worry-ing at Pontefract because its 60 million pound A&E unit had only been open for nine months when it was forced to start shutting down at night last November, the newspaper said.
The defence ministry said it had not received an official request to provide army cover but the National Health Service (NHS) trust said outline discussions with the military authorities have already taken place.