24/7 NHS Care – Again – in the news

Doctor looking at notes

In an article published in The Guardian newspaper on Monday 12th August, columnist Jackie Ashley discussed her, and others, experiences of the NHS and whether the service should be properly staffed 24/7.  Jackie Ashley hosted a Radio 4 programme on the same subject which aired on the evening of Monday 12th August.

Read The Guardian article or listen to the Radio 4 programme.

Whilst the article and programme discuss the NHS in England, this is an important issue, which the Digby Brown Clinical Negligence team have raised in a Scottish context recently.  Both the article and in the radio programme discussed examples where patients and their families discuss how they have felt concerned or let down about the care they or their loved ones received outside of ‘normal business areas’, in the evening or at weekends – similar examples could be found among many Scottish NHS patients.

Many of these complaints related to a lack of specialist staff being available in the evenings or at weekends. In June, we blogged on this issue, following a report in the Herald newspaper in which a senior Scottish NHS Official indicated that there will be greater levels of specialist cover during these periods when the new South Glasgow Hospital opens in 2015.

We know from extensive first-hand experience that the vast majority of care in the NHS in Scotland is delivered to a high standard, at a time when patients need it the most.  We also know that there are issues around evenings and weekends.

Should the patients who feel concerned or let down by out of hours care have to wait until 2015? As we’ve asked before, shouldn’t the NHS be following the lead of other public services and offering 24/7 care?