There has been an increasing dissatisfaction amongst physicians regarding the quality of health care delivered to their terminally ill patients. This was disclosed in the annual Scottish Audit of Surgical Mortality.
The dissatisfactions focus on pain relief and other end-of-life care for patients in acute surgical wards. Furthermore, amongst all categories, Orthopaedic surgeons have the lowest levels of satisfaction with merely, 20% of them expressing contentment with the care provided. Thoracic, and vascular surgeons closely follow them, with satisfaction levels much below 20%.
In addition, there is widespread disparity in the allocation of health care services to different categories of patients. The quality of care was found to vary over specific geographic locations across the country, with West Lothian scoring highest and the Borders scoring lowest.
Some patients reap the maximum benefit (cancer patients) while others are being deprived of access to quality health care. The above fact only reflects an important shortfall in care that needs to be addressed.
Post-operative infection was believed to be responsible for a majority of the deaths. Infact about three quarters of the patients acquired the infection in hospital, while the rest had it at the time of admission. Hospital acquired infection with Staphylococcus aureus was found only in a quarter of the postoperative mortality cases.
Out of the total death toll of 4,091, under surgical care in 2004, nearly 50% of all cases (2,255) were found to occur following emergency admissions.
Following these reports, perhaps it is time for doctors to take care of their mental health as well. Necessary steps have to be taken to ensure that the expected levels of job satisfaction are achieved.