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Home Industry News Call for better out-of-hours care

Call for better out-of-hours care

2nd December 2010

Patients should be guaranteed better standards of care in the evenings and at weekends, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has said.

The RCP is concerned that many hospitals do not have enough senior doctors present to care for patients outside of regular working hours.

Its latest survey of 126 hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland found that only three per cent provided weekend cover from consultant physicians specialising in acute medicine for nine to 12 hours, and none for more than 12 hours.

Nearly three-quarters of hospitals had no such cover at weekends.

Dr Jonathan Potter, clinical director of the RCP's clinical effectiveness and evaluation unit, conceded there have been improvements in facilities and staffing over the past few years.

However, he said: "Hospitals still need to address working arrangements to ensure that senior doctors are readily available to provide a consultant-led service in acute medical admissions units, seven days a week."

The RCP has published a major statement on out-of-hours care in which it recommends for the first time that consultant physician cover is available for 12 hours per day, seven days a week, in any hospital that admits acutely ill patients.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800269448-ADNFCR

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