A recent SAM survey found that many hospitals have no plans in place to ensure a high standard patient care during the Easter and Royal wedding bank holidays. During the eleven days from the 22nd April to 2nd May, there will be only three normal working days in numerous NHS trusts.
As SAM President Dr Philip Dyer said: “My hospital has only recently recovered from the Christmas holiday season, and now to face this… people still get ill on bank holidays, and yet the services are hugely depleted.”
After surveying Society members it was found that although 86 per cent of members would be happy to work on the day of the Royal wedding only a fraction had been asked to do so. Over half of members reported that they knew of no specific plans to negate the effect of these bank holidays in their hospitals and although most believed that additional services (such as radiology) would be required, few indicated that their hospitals would be providing these.
As Dr Dyer noted: ‘It is essential that hospitals start to plan for this period; consecutive 4 day weekends will have a major impact on patient care’.
Just a couple of weeks after SAM highlighted this issue NHS Scotland announced its Be Ready for Easter campaign, noting that after Christmas, Easter is the health service’s busiest time and urging people to prepare by stocking up on medications and checking opening times for their local pharmacy and GP surgery.