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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
NHS 'needs a new type of doctor'
The college believes the new consultants will improve care
A new breed of doctor is needed in the country's hospitals, according to a report.

The Royal College of Physicians says every major hospital should have at least three consultants in acute medicine by 2008.

These consultants would look after seriously ill patients - a job currently done by a wide range of doctors.

The report says the new breed of doctor is needed to ensure patients get the care they need.

Better care

The report says appointing these consultants would help to drive up standards.

They would ensure seriously ill people are correctly diagnosed and treated.

At present, most acute medicine is delivered by physicians who combine this work with other kinds of specialist care.

The royal college says this is not ideal because very ill patients need the undivided attention of the teams caring for them.

I believe this to be one of the most important reports the college has produced in recent years
Professor Carol Black,
Royal College of Physicians

The Specialist Training Authority, which oversees the training of junior doctors, recognised acute medicine as a medical speciality last year.

The first generation of acute medicine consultants are expected to come on stream in 2005.

The report also says that all patients who are admitted to A&E should be treated by an experienced doctor.

It also states that patients should be seen by a consultant within 24 hours of arriving in hospital.

"I believe this to be one of the most important reports the college has produced in recent years," said RCP President Professor Carol Black.

"The report itself is only the beginning, we will need to embed the recommendations into the NHS to ensure real improvement."

Dr Alistair Douglas, chair of the working party which drew up the report and a consultant at Glan Clwyd Hospital, said: "This report will be of interest to all those working to provide emergency care to patients in hospital.

"I hope it will be of practical benefit to doctors involved in the delivery of acute medicine.

"It is an important step in ensuring the future care for patients with acute medical conditions."

Professor Ian Gilmore, RCP Registrar, said: "For too long, patients with acute medical problems have had a raw deal when admitted to hospital and we must grasp the opportunity to provide a better patient experience, using this blueprint."

The Department of Health welcomed the report.

"The department welcomes the royal college's call for a specialty of acute medicine and for more medical consultants to specialise in treating the acutely ill," said a spokesman.

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08 Apr 04  |  Health

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