Removing weekend allied health services – including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietetics, and social work – from the surgical wards of hospitals had little effect on patients’ outcomes, according to a study by Terry Haines of Monash University, Victoria, Australia, and colleagues.

The removal of a heath care service to save resources can be difficult when there is little published evidence on the effectiveness of the service. In the new study, current weekend allied health services were incrementally removed – in a random order – from 12 acute surgical or medical wards in two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. Then, newly developed, more tailored services were reintroduced incrementally into the same wards. …more