Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Cost control of out-of-hours laboratory services in district general hospitals.
  1. K D Allen
  1. Microbiology Department, Whiston Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside.


    AIMS--To survey methods for cost control of out-of-hours laboratory services in district general hospitals in England and Wales. METHODS--A questionnaire was distributed to 66 district general hospital laboratories in England and Wales. RESULTS--The response rate was 61%. Most laboratories for which budgetary information was provided had on-call costs ranging between 10-21% of staff costs. Ninety five per cent of respondents had attempted to reduce workload by the use of various strategies. Seventy two per cent of responding laboratories had negotiated a wide variety of on-call agreements outside Whitley Council arrangements. Seventy two per cent were not satisfied with their on-call arrangements, the main desired objective being the introduction of the extended working day. CONCLUSIONS--From this study it seems that Whitley Council agreements for out-of-hours work are no longer appropriate for the average district general hospital laboratory. Workload reduction strategies should include the use of a limited list, audit of the use of the on-call service, and continued education of medical staff. Consideration may also be given to the introduction of fixed payments, extension of the working day, increased multidisciplinary on-call and increased bedside testing.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.