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Restore the prominence of the medical ward round

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 31 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6451

Rapid Response:

Re: Restore the prominence of the medical ward round

I recognise Dr. Cohn’s description of the medical ward round, often rushed and frequently interrupted. The patient is left dissatisfied and standards of care fall.1 However, the effect on junior doctors is similarly unsatisfactory; as a house-officer my colleagues and I frequently had to leave the ward round to write discharge letters, rejoining the round later, having missed a few patients. The urgency of the discharge letters was due to extremely high numbers of admissions in a busy district general hospital. These jobs could not wait a few hours, as patients needed to be out of bed and moved to the discharge lounge immediately, the bed then ready for the next patient to arrive.

The risk of this is junior doctors who do not know their patients well, a disjointed ward round, and poor continuity of care. Furthermore, foundation year doctors miss the learning opportunity of a consultant led ward round. Prioritising the medical and surgical ward round would improve junior doctors’ experience, as well as patient care.

1. Cohn A. Restore the prominence of the medical ward round. BMJ 2013; 347:f645

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 December 2013
E Price
FY2 doctor
Imperial College Healthcare Trusts
The Bays, South Wharf Road, St. Mary's Hospital, London, W2 1NY