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Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Would you travel further for better healthcare?

23rd September 2009

John Black, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, argues the case for more specialist regional centres.


While district general hospitals are viewed with affection and loyalty, patients with some conditions would have a much greater chance of survival if they were treated in a specialist regional centre.

Those with rare forms of cancer or injured in a major traffic accident, for example, would benefit.

But what is best, a convenient service on the doorstep or a better service that requires a longer journey?

Relocation of NHS services invariably leads to local resistance but the fact remains that it is becoming increasingly impossible, due to specialisation in surgery, to provide everything that modern healthcare can offer in every single hospital in the country.

That position also risks wrong decisions or poor compromises and has no long term-benefit for patients.

Decisions are being fudged by politicians who sometimes seem to prefer an average service provided in their constituency rather than an excellent one a further 30 minutes away.

This is why the Royal College of Surgeons, in its manifesto Surgery in Safe Hands, wants a planned restructure of the NHS that includes local and national networks and the development of specialist centres where appropriate.

While the underlying principle of having services as close to the patient as possible remains, there is clear evidence that where lives will be saved services should be centralised to larger more distant units.

But this must be clearly explained to the public – while maintaining true patient choice - with services available on a national basis.


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John Burns

Friday 9th October 2009 @ 11:22

Like all health care, the "best" solution is always a matter of compromise.

carol ward

Saturday 10th October 2009 @ 21:19

i agree on compromise, but what about some people who are let down, a friend of ours spent long hours waiting thinking she broke a bone in her foot and arm, then to be put in plaster. then after to go back in to take the plaster off and it was a hair line fracture to her arm. from 4.30 to 11.45 to work out what was wrong. only nine people had to go back on the 7.10.09 sorry but it happened this way.

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Article Information

Title: Would you travel further for better healthcare?
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 12727
Date Added: 23rd Sep 2009


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