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Furnival, Bottle, & Aylin (1) report on the national impact as a result of industrial action during the 2016 junior doctors contract dispute, both on NHS service provision and in-hospital mortality. The information gained during a time of unprecedented national uncertainty within the NHS allows us to reflect on our preparedness and planning, and it is vital that this is done on a local level to ensure that a safe service can be provided in order to guarantee good quality care should these situations arise again.
With that in mind, we reviewed whether there was a change in number of admissions, length of stay (LOS), and in-hospital mortality for medical patients admitted during industrial action at our district general hospital (DGH). Data for strike days were compared with equivalent non-strike days during the same month. We found no significant difference in admission numbers between strike and non-strike days (345 vs. 376), LOS (median 2 days [IQR 1-8] vs. 3 days [IQR 1-9], Z = 0.835, p= 0.40), or in-hospital mortality rate (4% vs. 7%, chi-square = 3.27, p = 0.07). However, there was significant disruption to elective services during this time in order to provide senior cover for emergency work.
As junior doctors during the recent contract dispute and industrial action, I feel that we have a duty to assess the impact of these actions on patient care. Furnival et al. highlight the challenges faced when evaluating this impact, including difficult to measu...
As junior doctors during the recent contract dispute and industrial action, I feel that we have a duty to assess the impact of these actions on patient care. Furnival et al. highlight the challenges faced when evaluating this impact, including difficult to measure outcomes such as future attributable morbidity, cost to the health service, and the effect on patient satisfaction resulting from industrial action. However, basic assessment of our services during times of increased pressure provides us with insight in to how our systems perform, and how to plan for future events.
1. Furnivall D, Bottle A, Aylin P. Retrospective analysis of the national impact of industrial action by English junior doctors in 2016. BMJ Open 2018;8:e019319. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019319