Gastrointestinal services 'unsafe'12th December 2007
A survey by the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) has found that emergency care services for people admitted with gastrointestinal bleeding are severely lacking.
The survey, published in the journal Clinical Medicine, submitted questions to over 150 acute NHS hospitals.
The results showed 64% of hospitals thought their emergency endoscopy service was "unsatisfactory" and more than a third said their services were "unsafe".
Over 50% of the hospitals questioned said they did not have a formally established rota for emergency endoscopy services, with nearly 50% of staff working in the field saying they did not receive overtime pay for working extra hours.
Severe gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding can be fatal. Dr Pranab Gyawali from the BSG said the fact that 64% "of endoscopy leads rate their provision as unsatisfactory is worrying...that 38% view services as unsafe is alarming."
"The provision of a safe service should not be viewed as an aspiration. A planned system for managing emergency GI bleeds is essential."
The article said that regional centres for treating emergency GI cases should be created and suggested that hospitals could "share staff". It added that solutions were possible but needed to be considered seriously by those in charge of management and delivery.
Professor Ian Gilmore, a consultant gastroenterologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospitals and President of the Royal College of Physicians, said that the rotas needed to be "formally established" and "resourced" in order to provide the best standards of treatment for patients.
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