THOUSANDS of doctors have told a BMA survey they have no confidence in being able to manage patient demand in the coming weeks and that caring for those with Covid-19 has severely impacted the treatment and care available for other patients.

More than 10,000 doctors took part in the survey over two thirds said they had either little or no confidence that the expected demand could be properly managed.

In Yorkshire 57% of doctors questioned said the care they could give to non Covid-19 patients was getting slightly or significantly worse with 15% saying things were the same and only eight per cent saying things were improving.

Confidence that their department’s/practice’s could cope with patient demand as normal NHS services are resumed was more or less split down to middle at 53%-47%.

Over half of those polled across the country said the care for patients without Covid-19, already suffering with the situation in their hospital Trust, GP practice or local NHS in England, was getting worse

These findings come just two days after NHS England published a ‘road map’ to support the resumption of routine operations and treatments over the next six weeks.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA Council Chair said: “When thousands of doctors are telling us they continue to have little or no confidence in being able to manage the levels of demand for care from patients without Covid 19, it begs the question, ‘What evidence is the Westminster government using to believe that normal NHS services can resume?’

“Last month the Government insisted that before lockdown was eased, the NHS must be able to cope. These results clearly show that doctors on the frontline feel this is not the case. The BMA is regularly surveying doctors across the UK and this is the second time they are telling us about very low confidence levels.

“The lowest level of confidence is for managing demand in the community – care homes for example - with 69% saying they are not very or not at all confident. And in terms of patients being able to have tests, scans and other diagnostic type treatment, around 60% of doctors said they had little or no confidence that demand could be properly managed.

“And yet only days ago, NHS England produced a ‘road map’ to support healthcare services to resume routine treatments and operations in the next six weeks. Patients who have not had the care they needed are understandably worried and a delay in any care is a risk, but it is equally wrong to raise expectation in this way if there is simply no way that the demand can be met.”

Dr Nagpaul continued: “Doctors are also telling us that caring for patients with Covid 19, not surprisingly means the care and treatment of those non-Covid patients, is already suffering. 55% of doctors told us that the situation in their hospital Trust, GP practice or local NHS was getting worse.

"This is heart-breaking to doctors, indeed all healthcare workers, who want nothing more than to provide the best care for their patients and to avoid delays in essential scans for disease such as cancer.”

The BMA said these responses from doctors underpin the fact that NHS England’s road map gives no detail about how all patients will be cared for in an environment free of infection, how the risk of infection will be mitigated and how the Government intends to provide enough PPE not just for Covid care but for all those staff and patients in non-Covid areas.

With more than 7 million people on hospital waiting lists, the BMA said the Westminster Government must set out a clear and tangible plan of how the system will have capacity both for the ongoing demands of the pandemic, as well as resuming services for those patients who are left in limbo.

The BMA said the findings are part of a wider survey by the BMA which has been conducted every two weeks since the crisis begun. It has been tracking how doctors are responding to the pandemic and the impact it is having on their working lived and wellbeing.