COUNCILLORS HAVE agreed to investigate a patient group’s concerns over changes to doctors’ rotas at Leeds hospitals.
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 hospital managers say the moves are vital to help improve care and ensure that junior doctors are well supported.
Members of Leeds Dermatology Patient Panel addressed their concerns over the move to increase the number of more senior doctors on call at night to Leeds City Council’s health and well-being scrutiny board yesterday.
Victor Broughton, chairman of the dermatology patient panel, told the panel that the changes to rotas will mean 5,000 fewer appointments for patients each year.
He said: “Acutely ill medical patients should ideally be seen by a doctor whose primary day job is a regular care of such patients.
“Dermatology patients are being discriminated against.”
They claim that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have not consulted them on the plans.
Directors at the trust say they have had limited on-site out-of-hours cover at Leeds General Infirmary which has affected their stroke service.
Currently 17 middle-grade, non-surgeon doctors are on call every night, but only four are present. The plans will see the number of on-call doctors rise.
Dr Bryan Gill, medical director for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, told the panel: “The trust fully understands the concerns of the Dermatology Patient Panel. We are in a position where difficult choices and decisions have to be taken.”
He said there is a need to provide better care and the new rotas are expected to come into force later this year.
The board agreed an inquiry will go ahead.