Western General has 1 doctor to 116 beds ratio

Edinburgh's Western General. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Edinburgh's Western General. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Nights cover at Edinburgh’s Western General sees doctors being left to look after more than 100 beds each, new figures reveal.

Details released under Freedom of Information show the ratio of medical staff to beds at night times varies across Scotland from around 65 per doctor in Aberdeen and the new Forth Valley hospital, to 124 per doctor at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital.

At the Western General, there was one doctor for every 116 beds on the night shift at weekends.

Dr Neil Dewhurst, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said while it could be difficult to predict how many patients would need urgent treatment during the night, it was essential to have enough capacity within the rotas to cover both planned and unplanned care.

“The patient-to-doctor ratios reported by some NHS boards suggest there may not be much capacity to cover a high level of unplanned care, particularly if they are further stretched by unfilled vacancies or staff absence.”