Why our health service must work as a 24/7 operation

There has been much debate about the reasons for high weekend mortality rates in hospitals, as evidence of the problem has accumulated. In some cases, it is due to lack of care in the hospital. In others, it is due to lack of care outside the hospital. But, in almost all cases, it is down to the fact that our health services do not work as a 24/7 operation.

There is no really good reason for this. Fire services do not operate with slimmed down crews on Saturdays and Sundays. Why should hospitals?

Roger Taylor, Co-Founder and Director of Research at Dr Foster, provides his view through on weekend working in the NHS through the Guardian Healthcare Network. (Read more)

Filed under Hospital Guide, In the Media, Press Releases. Permalink.

3 Responses to Why our health service must work as a 24/7 operation

  1. Dr A.R.W.Harriss M.B.Ch.B; M.R.C.P. ( 75yrs; G.P. Principal 1974-2001; previously in Hospital/ also Tropical Practice). Retired. says:

    Personal view/ I accept I could be biased:-The G.P. Contract changes 2004/2005 have seriously affected “Quality of Care” in many ways. Previously the OOHours attending Practitioner was the registered G.P.; or being from the same Group Practice had immediate access to the Lloyd George records if “background”was needed. The present “thin” service employs “strangers”; less inclined to visit because of time/ load issues; and doing it for the money! The contract shifted General Practicefrom “vocation” to “job”!! Patients often are fearful “out of hours”; and readily resort to 999 calls; for issues that their Practice formerly covered.Then arise needless ambulance journeys disrupting true “Emergency” response situations at times; and “loading” Hospital A/E Departments with inappropriate clients. Working in A/E, a Doctor has only so much to “give”; genuine cases suffer; and Dr morale is affected. Result “£’swaste; less satisfactory for all involved.

  2. Sanjay Mutgi says:

    As an acute medicine consultant, I am used to doing long 12 hour shifts and weekend working. There is also a drive to improve the quality of care in out acute medical unit which makes long hours imperative.
    However, given the ‘culture’ of NHS consultants , there is significant resistance from other medical specialities and Radiology to rise up to the level of commitment that is necessary to provide the same level of care over the weekend and out of hours.
    Given the significant ‘cost cutting exercise’ and NHS reorganisation currently taking place, I wonder how many trusts are willing to make a conscious effort towards 24/7 working.
    Kind Regards

  3. Dr Phil McAndrew Cons radiologist Regional RCr Chair and Associate medical Director for Govenance says:

    Tha’s unfair to radiology. We as a specialty have led the way in trying to provide innovative solutions to out of hours cover. An example is the extensive deployment of home based PACS workstations to consultant radiologists and the use of teleradiology where appropriate. Most departments are either planning to or already provide extended hours services and weekend working. Our problem is simply lack of manpower and the refusal to recognise the need for far more recruitment i nto the specialty and funded consultant posts. Contractual issues with radiographers resulting from agenda for change have been a problem in the past but are increasingly being overcome.

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