Chris Smyth in The Times 13th June reports Patients must be told who runs their care. A “non-story” as there has always been a named consultant in charge – it is a measure of how low the Regional Health Services have sunk that there needs to be a headline saying that the patient needs to be told who it is!
Patients have been promised that a single doctor will take responsibility for co-ordinating their hospital care under guidance issued by medical leaders.
Doctors have been told they must put a “name over the bed” so that patients know who is accountable for their overall care. This doctor must organise care from other doctors and resolve any problems, in guidance issued in response to recommendations made after the Mid Staffs scandal.
Patients will have the right to contact their “responsible clinician” and be told to go to them with questions and concerns. Regulators have told doctors they must be “readily accessible” and those who ignore this overall co-ordinating responsibility “will be considered as acting in an unprofessional manner”.
Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which produced the guidance, said: “Doctors recognise that we need to have clear lines of responsibility when it comes to the way patients are treated during their stay in hospital. Some hospitals have already implemented a ‘name over the bed’ process and where they have, patients say they have more confidence that someone is taking overall responsibility for them. They also know who to go to if they have questions or if they think something needs to be done differently. This is vital if we are to drive up standards of care and continue to safeguard patient safety.”
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said: “Patients tell us that, too often, their care isn’t joined up. That’s why every patient should have a single responsible clinician whose job it is to help them with anything that goes wrong and make sure they get the care they need. This guidance will make that a reality – it has been developed by clinicians, for clinicians, and is a huge step forward for patient safety.”
The General Medical Council has also issued guidance on how doctors must approach the role and Professor Sir Peter Rubin, chairman of the council said: “‘Being in hospital can be a worrying experience for many and this new role should provide reassurance to patients and their families across England that there is someone overseeing their hospital journey.”
The Guardian reports this as: Hospital patients ‘should have a doctor’s name above the bed’