Financial pressures on NHS organisations are taking their toll on the training of new doctors, a leading junior doctor has said.
The changes introduced by the controversial Health and Social Care Act and the financial pressures on the NHS have created a "perfect storm" for the deterioration in the quality of medical training, said Dr Ben Molyneux, newly elected chair of the British Medical Association's junior doctors committee.
Safeguarding the quality of training will be a key priority during his tenure in the post, said Dr Molyneux, a general practice trainee in London.
"The economic climate in the NHS coupled with major changes introduced by the Health and Social Care Act has created a perfect storm for the potential erosion of high-quality medical training. We have already seen evidence that the financial pressures are taking their toll on medical training," he said.
Training budgets could be affected by the cuts, Dr Molyneux warned
"In the south of England some trainees have been forced to complete two placements in psychiatry because the trust is short-staffed. Junior doctors should not be denied a rounded training programme which exposes them to a range of specialties.
"A recent BMA survey of junior doctors' career intentions showed that half of those questioned said they were more likely to leave the NHS to work overseas after training compared to two years ago. This would represent a massive potential loss to the NHS.
"Continued pay freezes and the raid on doctors' pensions will further demoralise a profession who face an intense and lengthy training programme.
Health Ministers have promised to work with the BMA to ensure training doesn't suffer
"I hope there will be opportunities for the BMA to work closely with the Government to address the concerns of junior doctors and that they will work in partnership with us to improve the quality of training."
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "The NHS offers an excellent training and salary package for doctors, with consultants earning a basic salary of between £74,504 and £100,446 dependent on length of service.
"I welcome the opportunity to work with the BMA and other medical groups to ensure we continue to provide high quality training for junior doctors."