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Showing posts from January, 2016

The truth about NHS emergency care at weekends?

Much has been made by the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, about a seven day NHS and doctors working at weekends.  They cite in their case against the action of the Junior doctors in their opposition to the new contracts that more patients die at weekends.  This they say is a scandal and imply it is because there is less care over the weekend in the NHS. 
But is this claim really true.  A new study published today in the Emergency Medicine Journal reveals that it is at best an oversimplification. 
Looking at what happens in one hospital in Belfast, the study shows that patients admitted as medical emergencies at the weekend are significantly older and more dependent than those admitted to hospital on other days of the week.

The authors suggest that while staffing levels may have a part to play, the profile of the intake may help explain the seemingly higher death toll of patients admitted as medical emergencies at weekends.

They base their findings on an analysis of…

Junior doctors stand tall

News that the talks between the government and the junior doctors has stumbled is no surprise. Junior doctors are right to be sceptical about the motives of the Health Secretary.

In November, in a ballot of junior doctors, 98 per cent voted for industrial action in response to the Government’s attempt to introduce an unsafe and unfair contract. Despite this overwhelming mandate, the BMA sought conciliation talks through Acas – talks that were initially rejected by Jeremy Hunt – which led to action being temporarily suspended to allow further negotiations. Despite weeks of negotiations, talks have failed to reach agreement.

The BMA has made it clear that it wants to reach agreement on a contract that is good for patients, junior doctors and the NHS. This is why, despite overwhelming support for industrial action, the BMA instead sought conciliation talks with the Government. Those talks were initially rejected and delayed by Jeremy Hunt.

As the BMA say, after weeks of negotiations,…