Hospital doctors to be available seven days in bid to tackle higher weekend death rates
HEALTH chiefs in Bolton have welcomed plans to ensure senior doctors are available seven days per week in hospitals.
The measures form part of a vision unveiled by NHS England to tackle higher death rates at weekends.
The changes, proposed by medical director Professor Bruce Keogh, will be applied to urgent and emergency services over the next three years.
Research suggests death rates are 16 per cent higher for patients with emergency conditions admitted on Sundays compared with those admitted on Wednesdays.
Prof Keogh says access to diagnostic tests also needs to be improved at weekends — a step Royal Bolton chiefs say they have already taken.
Steve Hodgson, acting medical director, said: “I welcome Bruce Keogh’s recommendations and indeed this trust has already been working towards them as we believe they are in the best interests of patients.
“For instance we already have weekend access to many diagnostic tests such as X-rays, CT scans and blood tests. We also have a wide range of consultants on site at weekends especially those who may be needed in an emergency.
“We do understand the importance of delivering safe and reliable care across the week and are continuing to work to increase seven day working.”
Dr Wirin Bhatiani, pictured, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There is clear evidence that 24/7 consultant cover is safer for patients who need particular types of urgent surgery.
"As part of Healthier Together, NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group is working with other CCGs in Greater Manchester to look at how this can be achieved.
“We want all patients to have the best possible outcomes regardless of the day of the week. The CCG will keep talking to Bolton people about any proposed changes to service provision in Bolton.”
Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on the health scrutiny committee, welcomed Prof Keogh’s plans.
He said: “This is exactly what patients need.
“Hospitals should have the same level of staff cover and care at the weekend.”
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