Hospital Dr News

Consultant presence improving on labour wards

Consultant presence on the labour ward in O&G is increasing with the majority having 60-98 hours consultant presence a study finds.

The census, by the The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, also shows greater consultant presence at weekends. However, current cover falls short of 24/7 consultant presence in the larger units.

In total, 203 hospital units responded with an average of 3938 deliveries per year.  The total number of consultants working in the NHS in the UK during this period is 2215 with an average number of 10.91 consultants in post at each unit.

The majority of units (191) have middle grade doctors providing 24-hour labour ward cover. Middle grade doctors are those who are in the intermediate to advanced stages of their training. These doctors have usually completed at least four out of the nine years of postgraduate medical training.

Junior grade doctors provide cover in 176 units followed by consultants providing cover in 125 units, specialty doctors providing cover in 123 units and senior middle grade providing cover in 66 units.

Consultants are present on the labour ward 59.15 hours per week on average (range 0-116) with four units providing over 98 hours consultant presence per week.

The census looked at the times of day that consultants were present on the labour ward. The majority have consultants present in the morning (197 units) and afternoon (198 units) with 124 units having consultants present at the weekend, 121 units in the evening and 35 overnight.

The RCOG census examines data provided by college tutors, who co-ordinate training and education within trusts, at hospital units across the UK in 2012/13.

Mr Ian Currie, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists honorary secretary, said: “In previous years the census has included a large amount of data, however, this year we decided to streamline the census and have fewer questions for College tutors to answer in order to receive a high return rate and provide a clearer picture of the workforce numbers.

“When interpreting the census, the data needs to be taken in context, for example units vary greatly in size and location, which can impact the way it is staffed by doctors.

“The number of consultants in post is stable and we are seeing an increase in consultant presence on the labour ward with the majority having 60-98 hours consultant presence. We are also seeing greater consultant presence at weekends.

“This latest census shows that the specialty is moving in the right direction, however, there is still the need to move towards 24/7 consultant presence in the larger units to ensure women at any time of day or night are receiving the best possible care.”

The RCOG published the working party report Tomorrow’s Specialist in 2012 which called for increased consultant presence, an expansion of the service and a specialist workforce providing on-site care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Read the full report.

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation