A PATIENT group has claimed changes to doctors’ rotas at Leeds hospitals will mean 5,000 fewer appointments for patients each year.
Dermatology patients have written to hospital bosses voicing their fears over the plans, which will see trainee dermatologists work night shifts in other departments.
But managers say the moves, due to be discussed tomorrow, are vital to improve care and ensure junior doctors are supported.
Members of the Leeds Dermatology Patient Panel (LDPP) have raised concerns with councillors and hospital chiefs over the moves to increase the number of more senior doctors on call at night.
Directors at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust say they have had limited on-site out-of-hours cover at Leeds General Infirmary which has affected their stroke service – junior doctors also feel unsupported at night.
Currently 17 middle-grade, non-surgeon doctors are on call every night, but only four are present.
Under the plans that number will go up and the stroke service ‘improved’.
However, Victor Boughton, chairman of the dermatology patient panel, said: “When you add it up, the service to the patients is going to be reduced dramatically.”
In a letter, the panel says the changes will mean that, for half of the year, non-dermatologists would be caring for dermatology patients.
They say as trainee dermatologists won’t be able to hold skin clinics the day after they have worked a night shift elsewhere, there will be a loss of 5,000 patient visits per year.
Leeds hospitals chief medical officer Dr Yvette Oade said at night clinical advice for acute dermatology problems would be provided by the on-call consultant dermatologist.