Urgent Need For Higher Weekend Death Rates In Hospital To Be Addressed

Dr Foster Report Shows Five NHS Trusts Have Higher Than Average Death Rates At Weekend

03.12.2012

Lawyers have called for the NHS to eliminate the problem of poor weekend care once and for all after an independent report highlighted five Trusts with higher weekend mortality rates than during the week.

 Medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say that the Dr Foster report, published today (3rd December), raises concern over staffing levels at weekends which must be tackled urgently.

The report identifies five Trusts with normal standardized mortality rates among patients who arrive as an emergency during the week but ‘worryingly high’ rates at the weekend.

David Body Head of the Medical Negligence team at Irwin Mitchell commented: “All patients should have access to the best possible care regardless of where or when they need hospital treatment.

“The data shows that the five NHS Trusts identified have higher mortality rates at weekends compared to their care during the week. This raises serious concerns about staffing levels and the availability of senior doctors. We have seen too many cases where treatment at the weekend has not been of an appropriate standard and has led to unnecessary injuries and avoidable deaths.

“Urgent action needs to be taken to ensure that patient safety is assured no matter what time a patient is admitted to hospital. Both general staffing levels and the availability of senior staff needs to be investigated so that supervision is of the highest standard to improve the treatment and decision making in the hospitals affected at the weekends.”

The Dr Foster report suggests a high standardized mortality ratio suggests ‘potential underlying problems’. The data is a measures of deaths among patients in hospital across 56 different conditions which account for 80% of all deaths.

The hospitals with High HSMR at weekends are: Buckinghamshire Hospitals; Mid Yorkshire Hospitals; Oxford University Hospitals; Royal Cornwall Hospitals; and Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals.