UK pilot programme aims to reduce 'Black Wednesday' hospital deaths

UK pilot programme aims to reduce 'Black Wednesday' hospital deaths

A pilot programme is being rolled out across England aimed at reducing a spike in patient deaths on the day thousands of junior doctors start work.

Known traditionally as 'Black Wednesday', today is said to be the most dangerous day of the year to fall ill there. An estimated 7,000 junior doctors start work in English hospitals today.

Under the new scheme, all young medics will spend a minimum of four days in a shadowing role before taking up their posts.

Dr Rebecca Aspinall from University Hospitals, Bristol, which already has the compulsory four-day "shadow" scheme, said the hospital had "reduced quite significantly the near misses and the close shaves and the mistakes new doctors might make."

She said there were many senior doctors also keeping an eye on the juniors, but she added that through the scheme: "We've certainly improved safety."

A recent survey of 51,000 junior doctors by the General Medical Council found that one in seven felt they had to deal with medical problems beyond their competence and experience.

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