Weekend closures of operating theatres is not a waste of money says Basingstoke hospital chief (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Weekend closures of operating theatres is not a waste of money says Basingstoke hospital chief
A NATIONAL health chief may have described the weekend closures of operating theatres as a waste of NHS funds – but Basingstoke’s hospital boss believes that Monday to Friday operations is the best way of working.
Talking about the weekend closure of operating theatres, Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS commissioning board, told The Sunday Times: “We have got outpatient departments that are empty, operating theatres that lie fallow.
“Our system has been based around providing as good a working environment as you can for the people who work in the health service, which isn’t necessarily matched with what the people who want services have.
“If you wanted a day case operation, and you didn’t want to take a day off work, why can’t you have it on a Saturday or Sunday?
“If you are an elderly person who struggles to get to the hospital, why does your niece, nephew, son or daughter have to take a day or a half-day off work to take you to and from the hospital for the convenience of the people who are running it?
“It seems strange in a way that you cannot go to a clinic at the weekend – that you cannot have your day case surgery at the weekend when the rest of the commercial world is going in a different direction.”
A report by health data watchdog Dr Foster has found that Basingstoke hospital has been performing weekday operations at a rate of 99 – a figure that is significantly higher than the normal rate for trusts between 94.5 and 96.7.
“We try to do operations Monday to Friday when we have the maximum number of staff available. So it shows we are pretty good at doing that.
“Some hospitals that have to do operations at the weekends are not hitting their weekday targets. If we were doing more than expected at the weekend, then that would be more worrying for the hospital.
“I would be more concerned about that because it means you are using staff to do more extra duties because there is no capacity to do that in the weekday.”