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Weekend doctor numbers all time low

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Figures released by the BBC have found that staffing levels across the UK’s hospitals are at an all time low.  It’s been highlighted that only a fraction of the doctors working during the week are on site over the weekends.  A particularly worrying statistic has been expressed by the report: that only 16% of doctors working during the week are on duty at the weekend.  Medical director of NHS England, Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, said that changes had to be made “with urgency”.

The report further revealed the extreme difference in the grades of doctors on duty.  It was found that England’s hospitals had an average of 86 consultants working on a Wednesday, in comparison to just over 8 working in the afternoon on weekends. One hospital on the Isle of Wight – St Marys – had a total of 63 consultants working during the week, but absolutely none on weekend afternoons. The hospital defended this worrying finding by saying that they had 12 consultants on call over the weekend.

24/7 staffing by 2017

The NHS last published its figures concerning patient mortality in 2011. It was found in a survey of 14 million hospital admissions that a patient is 11% more likely to die if they’re admitted to hospital on a Saturday, and 16% more likely to die if admitted on a Sunday than during the week.

It was also highlighted that a patient is likely to stay in hospital for longer if they were admitted over the weekend.  This is down to having to wait longer for diagnosis, as many of the specialists are not on site over the weekend.

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh has composed a 10-point plan to attain 24/7 staffing in hospitals across the country.  He said this should be in place by 2017.

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