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In an ideal system, patients admitted acutely to hospital should have their care provided in an area with the most appropriate ward-based medical, nursing and allied professional staff profile. Frequently this does not happen due to the physical structure and organisation of our hospitals in Scotland. Acute medical admissions may be fitted in to the end of many different speciality ward areas while still under the care of a single internal medicine team - as 'medical boarders'. A survey of local medical and nursing staff revealed that a majority would not wish their relatives to be cared for in this way. It remains important to provide speciality beds for those patients who require them, but it is also necessary to develop a system that enables more patients to receive optimal care in the correct environment. In this article, we describe the issue, the problems created and some possible solutions.

Original publication




Journal article


Scott Med J

Publication Date





45 - 47


Acute Disease, Decision Making, Organizational, Delivery of Health Care, Female, Hospital Units, Hospitalization, Humans, Male, Nursing Staff, Hospital, Scotland