Eight in 10 doctors are worried about the ability of the NHS to deliver safe patient care
Experts from across the NHS agree with the findings, saying that without urgent investment patient safety is at risk.
More than 1,500 doctors across England, Wales and Northern Ireland responded to a survey suggesting the crisis in care has reached its nadir.
Responses to the RCP NHS Reality Check Update 2018 show 84 per cent think the workforce is demoralised while 47 per cent say they administered lower-quality care over the past year – 10 per cent higher than last year
Eight in 10 are worried about the ability of the NHS to deliver safe patient care in the next 12 months.
“I cried on my drive home because I am so frustrated and distraught at the substandard care we are delivering”
One doctor responding to the survey said: “Staff simply cannot deliver what is expected of them under current circumstances. We are not robots. We are human beings with limits.
“I cried on my drive home because I am so frustrated and distraught at the substandard care we are delivering.”
Professor Jane Dacre, President of the RCP, said: “It is extremely worrying and depressing that our doctors have experienced an even worse winter than last year, particularly when so much effort was put into forward planning and cancelling elective procedures to enable us to cope better.
“We simply cannot go through this again – it is not as if the situation was either new or unexpected. As the NHS reaches 70, our patients deserve better.
Experts from across the NHS say without urgent investment patient safety is at risk (GETTY)
“Somehow, we need to move faster towards a better resourced, adequately staffed NHS during 2018 or it will happen again.”
The RCP has tabled a series of recommendations including making the UK more accessible and attractive to doctors from other countries and called on the Government to relax visa restrictions for the healthcare workforce.
It also wants funding for health and social care to match growing patient need and has demanded more investment in public health initiatives in an effort to reduce that need.
The findings come a week after latest performance data showed just 76.9 per cent on patients in major emergency departments are seen within four hours while bed occupancy last month stood at 95 per cent.
Thousands protested calling for government action to demand the end of NHS crisis last week (GETTY)
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We have huge empathy with our hospital colleagues and we know GPs around the UK would echo their sentiments around increasing workload, and concerns for patient safety.
“Our NHS is operating under immense pressures and we’re sure that everyone working in the health system can relate to this report in one way or another.
“The combination of a depleted workforce, intense workload and chronic underfunding has left our health service on the brink, putting both staff and patient wellbeing at risk.
“In general practice alone, our workload has risen by at least 16 per cent over the last seven years, but investment in our service has not risen at the same pace – something surgeries up and down the country are now feeling on a day-to-day basis.”