Aomrc: Consultants Must Review Patients At Weekends And Bank Holidays


Patients in hospital should be reviewed by a consultant at least once every 24 hours, including weekends and bank holidays, unless there is a good reason for them to not to have a daily review, say the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

The report, ‘Seven Day Consultant Present Care’, brings together 20 colleges and faculties in a commitment to deliver high quality care to patients seven days a week. It highlights that it is unacceptable not to provide consultant-led care at weekends if evidence suggests that this is best for patients.

Patients admitted to a UK hospital at a weekend are more likely to die during their hospital stay than those admitted during weekdays.

“It cannot be right that over weekends and bank holidays, patients may receive a lower standard of care than they would during the week,” said Professor Norman Williams, Steering Group Chair and President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

“Ensuring that key staff are available to provide this support will come at a cost. However this is crucial for the full benefit of seven day consultant-led care to be realised.”

Three patient-centred standards to guide the delivery of consistent care irrespective of the day of the week are highlighted in the publication:

  • Hospital inpatients should be reviewed by an on-site consultant at least once every 24 hours, seven days a week, unless it has been determined that this is not necessary for the patient
  • Consultant-supervised interventions and investigations along with reports should be provided daily if the results will change the outcome or status of the patient’s overall care before the next ‘normal’ working day. This should include interventions which will enable immediate discharge or a shortened length of stay
  • Support services both in hospitals and in the primary care community setting should be available daily to ensure that the next steps in the patient’s treatment, as determined by the daily consultant review, can be taken.

Currently, the availability of consultants and equivalent senior doctors varies widely across locations and across different areas of medicine in the evenings and at weekends. The report calls for the NHS to ensure that appropriate resources and adequate numbers of consultants are provided to enable consultant-led care to be achieved, seven days a week.