STRICTLY EMBARGOED – FOR RELEASE: 04/12/2010 00:01
7-day consultant present care: ‘A ground-breaking document, which will shape the future of care for patients in hospital’
The Society for Acute Medicine (SAM) has been a strong advocate of seven day consultant-led care for patients who are admitted to hospital in an emergency. The recent publication of the SAM quality standards document and toolkit for delivery of 12-hour consultant presence on the acute medical unit (AMU) reflects the importance of early consultant involvement in improving outcomes for patients.
The Seven Day Consultant Present Care report, produced by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) goes one step further, recognising the importance of seven day consultant-led care in all specialty areas for patients throughout their hospital stay. The report also stresses the need to provide seven day access to appropriate investigations and treatments and the crucial role provided by support services both in hospital and in the community.
The report sets three patient-centred standards to guide of the delivery of consistent care, seven days a week:
- 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 patient’s care before the next ‘normal’ working day.
- Support services, both in hospitals and in the community setting, should be available daily to ensure that the next steps in the patient’s treatment can be taken.
Dr Chris Roseveare, SAM President and co-chair of the Academy seven-day Working Sub-Group said: “This is a ground-breaking document which will shape the future of care for patients in hospital in the UK. It is well recognised that the number of consultants in most hospital areas is lower during the weekend than during weekdays; access to certain investigations, treatments and support services are equally limited. It has also been demonstrated that patients admitted to hospital at a weekend are more likely to die from their illness. Publication of this document, supported by all the Medical Royal Colleges, demonstrates the commitment of hospital specialists to address this problem.
“Delivering these standards will be an enormous challenge for the Health Service, particularly for medical specialities which care for large numbers of patients in hospital. It is vital that a high quality weekday service is also maintained, which inevitably will require an expansion of the numbers of consultants in many areas. The document recognises that this will take time and financial investment, as well as changes in work patterns and hospital configuration. However the benefits for patients are likely to be substantial.
“We heard yesterday about the challenges of overcrowding in our hospitals; capacity problems frequently occur on Mondays due to a fall in discharges over weekends. A seven day consultant-led service in hospitals and greater community support at weekends will be a major step towards easing this pressure”.
Notes to the editors:
- Acute medicine (also known as acute internal medicine) is the specialty which deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present in hospital as emergencies.
- The Society for Acute Medicine is the national representative body for the speciality of acute medicine and represents over a thousand members.
- Dr Roseveare has been an acute medical consultant in a large teaching hospital since 1999, and was co-chair of the seven-day working subcommittee which advised the AoMRC Steering group in producing these guidelines.
- The report is available to download from 00.01 4 December 2012 at http://aomrc.org.uk/publications/reports-a-guidance.htm.
- SAM’s previous statements on consultant presence seven days a week are available on our website, under Position Statements and Media Room.
Communications and Marketing Executive
Society for Acute Medicine
07 985 49 49 65
0117 983 0542