• Question: do you think doctors should work 7 days a week in order to relieve stress from the A&E departments?

    Asked by tasha to Simon, Shehla, Katharine, Jonathan, Emma, Chris on 12 Jun 2017.
    • Photo: Emma Rowe

      Emma Rowe answered on 12 Jun 2017:

      No, I don’t think so. I think that patients need to understand if their situation is suitable to be seen in A&E or if it can wait for Monday morning when they can see their GP. There is already an out of hours service which aims to deal with GP related queries over the weekends and evenings.
      A lot of issues that I have seen with the A&E crisis is that people do not attend A&E for an accident or emergency anymore, as the name suggests. We need to encourage patients to self care where necessary and present at departments where necessary.
      Of course, this is an ideal world situation!

    • Photo: Jonathan Harte

      Jonathan Harte answered on 12 Jun 2017:

      Good question.
      The obvious answer would be yes.
      things are never as simple as that – when we surveyed patients, hardly anyone wanted appointments with us on a Sunday. Saturdays are popular so it will come I’m sure.

      The trade off will be you can see a doctor/ GP 6 or 7 days per week, but it might not be your doctor.
      So the question not just when can I see a GP but who can I see (Dr Harte knows me so I want to see him…) And if I work on Saturday, will I get a day off in the week – but then patients won’t be able to see me that day. So there’s the compromise.
      Last I looked it’s still a government target so it will happen. trouble is there aren’t enough doctors, nurses, support staff to go round so how will that work..

    • Photo: Katharine Bradbury

      Katharine Bradbury answered on 12 Jun 2017:

      It’s a bit of a myth about doctors needing to work 7 days a week as most doctors already do. Hospital doctors have a rota covering days and nights while there are GPs available at nights and weekends through the ‘out of hours’ GP service.

      However there are less doctors available than during the working week and the service is designed only to deal with emergencies. If we want a truly 7 day NHS with routine appointments available at weekend we will definitely need to train more doctors – now is great time to apply to medical school!

    • Photo: Christopher Symonds

      Christopher Symonds answered on 13 Jun 2017:

      It sounds like a solution however in reality, with the shortage of GP’s in the UK at present 7 day working would not create more appointments but just spread the ones we have over more days. 7 day working will only work if we have the correct resources in place first.

    • Photo: Simon Browes

      Simon Browes answered on 14 Jun 2017:

      There is already 24/7 provision of healthcare based on need. The reality of the situation is that in a publicly-funded health system with limited resources and limited doctors, need has to outweigh demand.