Author(s): Foster M.; Sunderland G.; Buxton N.
Source: British Journal of Neurosurgery; 2018; vol. 32 (no. 1); p. 106-107
Publication Date: 2018
Publication Type(s): Conference Abstract
Abstract:Objectives: This study aimed to test the anecdotal observation that the frequency and volume of on call neurosurgery referrals fell during the junior doctor industrial action in 2016. Design: Retrospective analysis of the ORION (Outcome Registry Intervention and Operation Network) neurosurgery on call referral database. Subjects: All patients referred to a single tertiary neurosurgery service. Methods: The referral activity on strike days (12/1/16, 10/2/16, 09/3/16, 10/3/16, 6/4/16, 7/4/16, 26/4/16, 27/4/16) was compared with paired ‘control’ non-strike days a week later. Events were categorised as either: new referral, referring doctors re-contacting with further information or requests, neurosurgeons calling back with advice. The Students t-test was used to compare means. Results: When comparing ‘strike days’ to ‘non-strike control days,’ there was no statistically significant difference the mean number of: total calls, (22.88 vs 24.50, p = 0.47), new referrals (18.88 vs. 19.88 p-0.67), or referrers re-contacting the department (4.00 vs. 1.85, p = 0.58). There was no difference in the proportion of patients accepted for transfer (16% versus 16% p = 0.98) or referrals being made by a consultant (21% versus 13% p = 0.08). Conclusions: Results do not support the hypothesis that referral workload decreased during the 2016 industrial action. This implies that the workforce change did not compromise the safety of those needing discussion with neurosurgery or transfer to a neurosurgical unit.