Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in
Home › News › RCS responds to NCEPOD report: caring to the end?

RCS responds to NCEPOD report: caring to the end?

05 November 2009

John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons (who is talking at the report launch) said:

This hard hitting report highlights the loss of proper team working in UK hospitals, resulting in dangerous failures of communication which make it harder and harder for clinicians to provide safe care for patients. The Royal college of Surgeons has been warning for some time about the dangers of multiple handovers.

The problems revealed in this report date from 2006 and 2007, when the NHS was already struggling to meet the demands of a 56 hour working week. Now that in theory everyone in the NHS is working for only 48 hours the situation in the country’s hospitals can only have worsened. Earlier this month the College published a survey into the early effects of the 48 hour European Working Time limit on surgeons and found that these new rotas had almost entirely removed adequate time for handover of sick patients.

The College calls for services delivered by consultants and trainees organised into proper teams and providing continuity of care by the same team on-call throughout the 24 hours. This will require an opt-out from the European Working Time Directive, which ministers have so far refused to consider.

Notes to Editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit
If you have any queries please contact:
Matthew Worrall     – Email:; T: 020 7869 6047
Elaine Towell        – Email:; T: 020 7869 6045
Out-of-hours: 07966 486 832