Hospitals 'swamped by out-of-hours care failure' read a Daily Telegraph headline this week. It was telling readers that accident and emergency departments are being 'inundated' by patients with minor ailments because GP out-of-hours services are 'so poor'.
The paper said a study by the Royal College of Physicians had 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 and had said '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 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,' it said. The paper quoted RCP president Professor Ian Gilmore who said that the status quo was not an option if care was to be made consistently good.
Meanwhile, it also emerged that 'fear and frustrations' are 'driving patients across continents' as a Sunday Telegraph article claimed 'the threat of contracting a fatal superbug and despair over hospital waiting times are fuelling a boom in health tourism'.
The Sun said that '70,000 Brits have ops overseas'. It added that 'health tourists will book online and fly to India, Malaysia and Europe to avoid superbugs and waiting lists in Britain'.
Oh well, looking on the bright side, patients going abroad could help the NHS to hit next year's 18-week waiting-time target.