Servant of two masters

Difficulties can arise when a clinician works both in the NHS and privately. Dr Heidi Mounsey looks at a potential scenario and offers some guidance.

Imagine you are a consultant general surgeon with both an NHS contract and practising privileges at the local private hospital. 

The private hospital contacts you to say that a patient you operated on yesterday has become very unwell. The resident medical officer has reviewed the patient and considers an emergency return to theatre may be needed. You are asked to attend urgently. 

However, you are contracted for NHS duties today and are just about to start your ward round. You have several complex patients who require consultant review. 

Your obligations

It is important to be aware of your obligations in a timetable clash like this.