Views & Reviews Starting Out

Why many patients shouldn’t be in hospital

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 01 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4710
  1. Kinesh Patel, junior doctor
  1. 1London
  1. kinesh_patel{at}

    Rules are drummed into us from the earliest moments we are taught clinical inpatient medicine. We must see patients daily. We must check the observations chart. We must document findings in the notes.

    All these seem pretty sensible. I’ve never tried, but I can imagine the look on the consultant’s face if we said, “I couldn’t be bothered to see the patients today.” But would this reaction be rational?

    Paradoxically it is completely acceptable for inpatients not to see a doctor at weekends. And woe betide any patients in hospital when Christmas …

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