The Telegraph recently reported that Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS wants senior doctors to be available in hospitals at weekends as well as during the week. He is quoted as saying that “ people get sick seven days a week” and is critical of the fact that routine investigations/surgery is not available at weekends.
The Telegraph refers to studies showing that there is a greater chance of patients dying in hospitals at weekends due to the unavailability of senior doctors. A poll of 1000 doctors carried out by the website, Doctors.net, showed that 40% of doctors are against a 7 day week. Reasons given include a lack of NHS Funds for a 7 day week service, childcare problems for the doctors and concern that the availability of doctors at the weekend may result in fewer doctors being available during the week
The President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Norman Williams, is quoted as saying “The evidence continues to mount that we need to rethink how surgical care is delivered for patients’ seven-days-a-week. In particular, mortality and complication rates vary widely for patients admitted as emergencies at the weekend.… clinicians and managers must work together to reconfigure hospital services in a way that strengthens the quality of care given to patients regardless of when they are admitted.”