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Effects of consultant residence out-of-hours on acute paediatric admissions


Acute paediatric units require round-the-clock skilled resident medical cover. Fully trained doctors remaining resident on-site at night and weekends may improve care at these times, but costs are higher. In compensation, more senior doctors may be less likely to admit children.

Methods In a unit providing 24-hour, 7-day acute services, out-of-hours resident cover has been divided between level 2/3 trainees and consultants. Between 2007 and 2017, night and weekend day shifts were identified as resident consultant or non-resident consultant. Admission numbers (duration of stay of ≥4 hours) were obtained from hospital activity databases. Analyses were undertaken on total admissions and stratified by time of day and duration of stay of >12 or < 12 hours. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were derived using negative binomial regression .

Results For all out-of-hours and short-stay patients, children were significantly more likely to be admitted when there was no resident consultant: IRRs 1.07 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.09) and 1.09 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.18), respectively. There was no difference between rates stratified into long stay at night or weekend days: IRRs 1.01 (95% CI 0.96 to 1.07) and 1.03 (95% CI 0.99 to 1.18) respectively .

Conclusion A resident consultant presence was associated with reduced total, night-time and short-stay admissions.

  • Paediatric Practice
  • Paediatric Staffing

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