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Doctors fear catastrophes on hospital wards at weekends

One in eight doctors does not think hospitals provide high quality care at weekends and “catastrophes” are feared on wards because staff cover is so poor.Doctors fear catastrophes on hospital wards at weekendsA survey of senior doctors has found that many are concerned about the care patients receive at weekends, when most hospitals only have a skeleton staff.

One respondent to the Royal College of Physicians poll said: “I often feel relieved on Monday that nothing catastrophic has happened over the weekend.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, has told The Daily Telegraph that hospitals should look no different on a Saturday to the way the look on a Wednesday.

He wants the NHS to offer a full seven day service with routine appointments and operations carried out at weekends instead of emergencies only.

At a meeting at the Royal College, Prof Tim Evans, academic vice-president, reported on progress that the college had made with its Future Hospital Commission, which is investigating how to improve care. He said hospitals were under substantial stress and were providing a disjointed service to patients with a lack of compassion and continuity of care.

The Royal College survey found that hospital doctors were concerned that patients saw a succession of medics and had to repeat their problems each time.

More than one in eight said they rated their hospital’s ability to provide high-quality care seven days a week, as poor or very poor.

Prof Evans said: “I’d rather have a hospital working at 80 per cent of its best seven days a week than one that is 100 per cent five days and only 20 per cent at weekends.” The commission, chaired by Sir Michael Rawlins, aims to come up with ideas to ensure hospitals can cope with the increasing complexity of cases, an ageing population and changes to doctors’ working patterns.

Almost 7,000 doctors responded to the survey. Other studies have disclosed concerns from junior doctors who feel out of their depth at having to look after patients outside their areas of expertise when covering wards at weekends and at night.

The General Medical Council has warned that hospitals may be facing significant problems because juniors were being asked to cope with issues beyond their competence.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Doctors-fear-catastrophes-on-hospital-wards-at-weekends

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Time October 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

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