OBJECTIVES: The ABN has published standards of care for patients with acute neurological disease. Derriford Hospital provides a 24 hour neurology intake service to a population of 500,000 with the equivalent of four consultants, three specialist registrars (SpRs), and four senior house officers (SHOs) with a 37 bed ward. The authors undertook a prospective study of all neurology admissions to enable calculation of manpower necessary to meet the ABN guidelines. METHODS: All admissions to the neurology department were analysed prospectively for a three month period (March to May 2002). RESULTS: There were 629 admissions (equating to 2500 per year); data were collected for 93%. 78% of admissions were emergency, 16% elective. The mean number of neurology inpatients at any time was 76, with three (4%) being elective. The main diagnostic categories were stroke (29%), headache syndrome (13%), and epilepsy or seizures (12%). With regard to emergency admissions, 94% were seen by a neurology SHO within 6 hours and 81% by an SpR or consultant within 24 hours. Twenty five percent of emergency admissions were not seen by a consultant. 55% of patients were cared for on non-neurological wards for their entire admission. Median length of stay for stroke patients was 9.5 days, compared with 4 days for other patients. 37% of patients received a neurology follow up appointment. Currently each SpR spends 18 hours per week involved in the care of acute neurology admissions. CONCLUSION: Meeting the ABN guidelines will require an increase in total neurology bed provision to at least 15 per 100,000 population, with the equivalent of 3 consultant sessions (11 hours/week). Meeting the European Working Time Directive will require a minimum of 8-10 SpRs working a full shift system, which will have a significant impact on training and other aspects of service delivery.



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Publication Title

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry





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Organisational Unit

Peninsula Medical School


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, 80 and over, Emergency Service, Hospital, Epilepsy, Female, Headache, Hospital Bed Capacity, Hospitals, Community, Humans, Length of Stay, Male, Middle Aged, Nervous System Diseases, Neurology, Patient Admission, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Prospective Studies, Referral and Consultation, Stroke, United Kingdom, Workforce