Medical Practice

Comparative Study of District and Community Hospitals

Br Med J 1973; 2 doi: (Published 26 May 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;2:471
  1. J. Weston Smith,
  2. J. B. O'Donovan,
  3. Greville Hoyle,
  4. D. F. G. Clegg,
  5. T. Khalid


    Opinions conflict on whether there is a place in the Health Service for general practitioner (community) hospitals in which the patients' treatment is mainly the responsibility of their family doctors. The authors therefore analysed a sample of the patients admitted in the course of a year to a group of two general district hospitals with a comparable sample of the patients admitted to a general practitioner hospital. The aim was to analyse the type of care provided in the general practitioner hospital, to assess whether it was appropriate for the type of cases treated, and to decide whether the patients would have been better off in the district general hospital (and vice versa). The main conclusions are that a district hospital is best for serious illnesses needing skilled decisions and assessments but that most of the work of these hospitals is not of this kind and a community hospital staffed by general practitioners offers many advantages to patients—provided the work being done is constantly under critical assessment. The authors plead for special refresher courses under the N.H.S. for general practitioners working in community hospitals.

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