Two consultant led handovers every 24 hours - Bedford Hospital

This page provides a best practice example for standard 4 of Facing the Future: Standards for acute general paediatric services, which describes the handover process at Bedford Hospital, which is led by consultant paediatricians. Sharing information using structured communication techniques helps to keep all medical staff aware of each patient being cared for, provides consultant oversight of a service area and helps to identify unanticipated issues.

Standard 4: At least two medical handovers every 24 hours are led by a consultant paediatrician. 


  • Three handovers per day - each lasting approximately 30 minutes.
  • Handovers are structured using the RCPCH Handover Assessment Tool, which provides clear and structured communication whilst ensuring the sickest patients and issues are prioritised.
  • From Monday to Friday, handovers happen at 09:00, 16:30 and 21:00.
  • The morning handover includes the consultant of the week, the neonatal consultant, the nurse in charge, registrars and trainee doctors. The evening handovers include the evening / overnight consultant.
  • Weekend handovers happen at 09:00 and 21:00.
  • Trainees are encouraged to lead on handovers, which are overseen and supported by the consultant.
  • Handovers are audited regularly - consultants and trainees receive feedback and learn from their technique.

"Because of the handover frequency and format, consultants feel better informed of the care being delivered to children in the general paediatric and neonatal wards."

Dr Swati Pradhan

Contact for further information

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust

Dr Swati Pradhan, Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Lead -