The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow believes that there is a need to put in place a consistent standard of care which is of the highest quality throughout the working week, at weekends and on public holidays. The issue is being addressed by the Academy of Royal Colleges in the United Kingdom as well as by the Scottish Academy.
We support the need for consultants in some specialties to be on site both in the evenings and at weekends. Indeed, this is already happening in a number of areas.
For many years consultants have been present in the hospital on a rota system for parts of weekday evenings and at weekends as well as being on call overnight both during week nights and weekends.
The move towards extending elective work to evenings and weekends is worthy of considering. However, this would have substantial resource implications not only for doctors but also for the many other health professionals who work within the NHS. Such a move would have to be balanced against other pressures within the service, bearing in mind financial and other constraints.
Ensuring a uniform standard of care for acutely ill patients would seem to be a reasonable initial requirement.