Hospitals'swamped by out-of-hours care failure'read the Daily Telegraph's headline earlier this week after it told readers that hospital accident and emergency departments are being'inundated'by patients with minor ailments because the out-of-hours service provided by GPs is'so poor'. The broadsheet published findings from a study by the Royal College of Physicians which it said branded'Britain's healthcare provision as "inadequate and inflexible" outside of office hours'. The Daily Mirror also explained that the RCP had'slammed'out-of-hours provision. It told readers that the study said that'sick people should be directed as soon as possible to the most appropriate doctor…this should happen no matter what time of day'. And the Daily Express headline called for the NHS to introduce 24 hour testing. 'The NHS needs to go 24/7 by offering scans and tests all day and night to ensure patients get the best care quickly'the article said. The paper quoted president of the RCP Professor Ian Gilmore who said that the'status quo'was not an option to ensure'consistently high standards of care'for patients.
Meanwhile, it also emerged last weekend that'fear and frustrations'were'driving patients across continents'as a Sunday Telegraph article claimed that'the threat of contracting a fatal superbug, and despair over hospital waiting times are fuelling a boom in health tourism, with Britons turning to overseas hospitals in growing numbers'. And the Sun said that'70,000 Brits have ops overseas'. It added that'health tourists will book online and fly toIndia,MalaysiaandEuropeto avoid superbugs and waiting lists'inBritain. Oh well, look on the bright side, patients going abroad for treatment could ensure that the NHS has a better chance of meeting next year's 18 week waiting time target for those that choose to stay.