The Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) have considered the government’s initial proposal to increase hospital doctors working at weekends and what it implies for the whole healthcare team.
The AHCS supports the concept of hospital 7 day working as clearly benefitting patient care. The British Medical Association have suggested that this would be impossible to achieve without sufficient resources and backup. The AHCS agrees that without additional support for diagnostics and pathology the proposed weekend measure is unlikely to achieve all the outcomes that the government hopes.
AHCS President Dr Brendan Cooper said:
“It is crucial that Healthcare Scientists and other professional groups and supportive measures are in place in order to support this initiative, and that this is considered properly.
“If the idea is to use current over-stretched healthcare scientific services and spread them further, this will lead to gaps in service provision during the week which will impact upon delivery of care.
“It is crucial in considering why there are more deaths at weekends that any action taken doesn’t just move the risk around.
“Further careful scientific analysis of death rates is likely to show the reasons are multi-factorial and may actually have its causes in how mid-week services are run. We would like to encourage more detailed research in this important area so that effective solutions can be found.
“There is a risk that this proposal becomes entrenched in political argument and as a consequence we miss a golden opportunity to really make a difference for patients.
“The Academy for Healthcare Science would welcome working with the Government and other professions to tackle the root problems behind higher weekend death rates and develop sensible, achievable and realistic solutions within the constraints of the healthcare budget”.
“‘Top down’ control of healthcare from the Secretary of State may seem the route to get change but it flies in the face of the recently devolved local health service model and doesn’t reflect the fact that professionals like Healthcare Scientists, Doctors, Nurses and all other healthcare workers want to do their best for the patients they serve.”