PMID: 7932319May 1, 1994Paper

An analysis of medical workload--evidence of patient to specialist mismatch

Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
M G PearsonP D Davies


The National Health Service has employed physicians since its inception, yet 46 years later there are few data on the day-to-day work done by physicians. This paper describes the case mix of general medicine in one region using data for general medical admissions to one specialty (respiratory medicine) as a working example. The pattern of general medical inpatient admissions is consistent across the 10 districts in the Mersey region: 26% have a respiratory diagnosis, 22% cardiac, and 15% gastrointestinal. For medical day cases, 60% are gastrointestinal. The average length of stay for particular conditions varies little between hospitals, and the average consultant 'cares' for 949 consultant inpatient episodes per year. In only half the Mersey districts is the respiratory consultant provision appropriate for the case mix admitted to the hospital. A simple algorithm applied to data collected routinely by regional health authorities can yield much information upon which to plan medical manpower. Applied to a specialty, it has identified mismatches between workload and consultant type. For respiratory medicine, at least six more respiratory physicians (a 30% increase) are needed to correct the underprovision in Mersey region.

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