Today a short post as I have just finished a night shift as a resident ED consultant and am bleary eyed. However this is an issue I feel, like many others in the UK, particularly strongly about.
“A patient has a 15% higher chance of dying if they are admitted to a hospital on a Sunday than on a Wednesday, implying that the inflexibility of consultants leads to unnecessary deaths.”
For those reading this not in the UK, here’s a link to a newspaper article on it.
“Around 6,000 people lose their lives every year because we do not have a proper seven-day service in hospitals. No one could possibly say that this was a system built around the needs of patients and yet when I pointed this out to the BMA they told me to ‘get real.’ I simply say to the doctors’ union that I can give them 6,000 reasons why they, not I, need to ‘get real’.”
This is me. 10am on a Sunday morning… An NHS ED consultant fast asleep at the weekend…. Unbeknown to me, my wife took this photo. I crawled into bed at 0930 after being in hospital for another gruelling night shift. I didn’t have a break. The junior drs and nurses worked tirelessly last night. They treated a variety of patients, some who had a simple cold or who had injured themselves after being intoxicated due to alcohol to those that had been severely injured requiring the skills and expertise of a major trauma team. They were verbally abused by drunk patients and family members of patients. This happens almost every weekend night shift. No one, in any profession, deserves this.
I haven’t seen my wife and daughter for over 48hrs. My daughter, like many other 2 year olds, never leaves “Tedda” (pictured on the right of the photo) anywhere. She always has him with her. However, this morning, my wife sent me this text…..
There are thousands of NHS staff, from the receptionists, porters, nurses, junior doctors to consultants that work weekend day or night shifts. They won’t see or be able to spend time with there loved ones this weekend because they are working. They will miss out on family birthdays and events, meeting friends or simply just going for a sunday walk with their partners and kids. They will have missed out on god knows how many of these events over their career. They will have sacrificed spending time with their families to concentrate on studying for exams, treating patients and saving lives. Their family members have also missed out. They’ve missed out on spending time with their loved ones on weekends, year after year after year.
I think we, as NHS staff, sometimes forget what we have given up to in order to, quite rightly, put the patient first. The years of training and exams. Not complaining at having to stay hours after our shift finishes to help out. Yet we do it. We do it over and over again. Having a consultant present on a sunday on the wards to formulate a patient management plan will not change anything unless there are all the other services present to implement that plan. Mr Hunt, if you want to change practice in the NHS, its probably not ideal to attack a profession and expect doctors to sit back and take it. We will always put our patients first and there is no other job I’d rather do.
You can not conflate emergency and elective care together.
I work in the emergency care area and also see my other acute care consultant colleagues working in an on call capacity, present on the wards at weekends. We are not complaining about working on weekends to provide emergency care. We are complaining about being portrayed as being lazy. I suspect you want elective care to be 7 days and that is a separate issue. I suspect you realise your speech depicts hospital consultants as being lazy and I hope you didn’t mean it to come across that way. However year after year I am becoming more disillusioned with the working practice in the UK.
In the words of Dr Rob Galloway, another ED Consultant….
“Being an NHS Dr is the greatest privilege I can think of and a life long vocation. But not sure if I will continue to feel like this if the politicians continue the way they have been behaving.”
Just needed to air some thoughts….
PS: My daughter took “Tedda” back for her nap time….