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Monday 23rd April 2018

NHS transfers put patients at risk

12th March 2009

The British Association of Anaesthetists has said that patients are being put at risk by inadequate hospital transfer arrangements.


The association says that NHS and private ambulances used to move patients around sites in the UK are poorly equipped.

It has called for a national transfer service to be established and has warned the problem was only going to get worse in the future if it was not resolved.

The expectation is that more patients will need to be transferred for specialist care in the future with the reorganisation of hospital services in England to create centres of excellence.

The EU working time directive will also have an impact, with junior doctors’ hours reduce meaning fewer staff available to transfer patients.

The report from the association also raised concerns about insufficient power supplies for medical equipment on some ambulances.

It recommended the creation of a centrally managed transfer system, better training standards and a reduction in transfer for non-clinical reasons.

Working group chairman Dr David Goldhill said: "There is no doubt that the situation we have at the moment in most areas is entirely unsatisfactory. The patients are in a vulnerable position."

Shadow health minister Mike Penning said government action was needed and added: "When patients are vulnerable it is simply unacceptable that they be put at risk."

The Department of Health welcomed the report from the association but said the system did not need changing as it was already in line with what is considered good practice.


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