20. July 2012 11:39
Many NHS hospitals are failing to maintain stable care teams or continuity of care, according to a survey of the Royal College of Physicians.
Breakdown of care regimes at weekends was identified as a threat to patient safety by a quarter of RCP members.
Other concerns raised by the RCP’s Future Hospital Commission include lack of compassion towards patients and poor aftercare following discharge.
The Commission’s interim proposals this autumn may include focusing resources on smaller number of larger hospitals.
Tim Evans, Academic Vice President of the RCP, reported to the college that many hospitals provide “disjointed” care with breakdowns in activity and in transfer of responsibility.
Increased risk to patients at weekends was highlighted as a major concern, with Evans saying it was better to have slightly suboptimal care on all days than to have serious health inequalities built into the weekly schedule.
The survey showed that 24% of RCP members did not think their hospitals delivered continuity of care; 23% did not think stable care teams were maintained; and 17% did not think aftercare following discharge was adequate.
Major underlying concerns raised by members included ‘efficiency savings’ (52%) and clinical staff shortages (49%).
The Commission has identified five ‘workstreams’ as priority areas: compassion towards patients; design of care settings and processes; staffing and teamwork; data handling; and care planning.
The RCP plans to publish its interim proposals in September and its full report in March 2013.