Senior staff at Sheffield’s casualty unit have been increased as hospital bosses tackle fears over night care.
Patients’ groups are concerned over national figures showing that just five accident and emergency units in England employ a consultant to work overnight.
The Patients’ Association charity has called for an end to a ‘nine-to-five’ mentality in the NHS, amid fears that patients are more likely to die in hospital if admitted in the evening or at weekends.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which runs the A&E unit at the Northern General Hospital said it has increased consultants by a third.
Dr David Throssell, trust medical director, said: “Our A&E department does have specialist A&E doctors and nurses present 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide assessment, advice and diagnosis for patients.
“In addition, we have appointed an additional four A&E consultants which will bring the total to 16. This means there will be a minimum of one consultant working alongside the other specialist A&E doctors and nurses 16 hours every day, seven days a week.
“At all other times, a consultant is on standby to immediately return to the A&E department to support the other specialist A&E doctors.
“We also have other senior clinicians, including consultants from specialist areas such as orthopaedics or neurosciences on site at the hospital 24 hours, seven days a week to provide appropriate care for emergency patients.”
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett called for more cash to make further improvements.
He said: “We’re fortunate in having one of the most efficient accident and emergency facilities in the UK.
“This is presumably why we have not received any of the additional money allocated this last week to those trusts in the main who are providing a less than satisfactory service.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “A large portion of this year’s £500 million winter funding will help pay for extended consultant hours.”