Lawyers Call For Action To Tackle Weekend Death Rates

Medical Experts Respond to Alarming Weekend Death Rates Statistics

09.02.2012

Medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have called on all NHS Trusts to ensure that patients have access to the best possible care regardless of when they require it after ‘alarming’ statistics reveal patients are 16 per cent more likely to die if they’re admitted to hospital on a Sunday.

A study of 14.2million people admitted to NHS hospitals in England found patients admitted at the weekend are far more likely to die than those who begin their stay midweek and lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are backing calls for an end to the ‘two-tier’ NHS named in the report.

The study which is reported in the Journal of the Royal Society, found several contributing factors including:
• Too few senior staff
• An inability to conduct diagnosis tests
• The wrong mix of staff on duty

Patients admitted on a Sunday are 16per cent more likely to die within a month than those admitted on a Wednesday, a figure described as a ‘significant risk’ by researchers. The study which ran between April 2009 and March 2010 also found those who become inpatients on Saturday are 11 per cent more likely not to survive.

David Body who heads the Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team at Irwin Mitchell acts for patients and the families of those who have suffered as a result of negligence, errors or substandard care at NHS hospitals across the UK.

David said: “All patients across England should have access to best possible healthcare irrespective of when they are admitted to hospital. An end to the two-tier NHS needs to be worked towards now. All trusts have to ensure that patient safety is their top priority – not just Monday to Friday but every hour of every single day.

“Sadly, these alarming statistics come as no real surprise to us as we continue to see cases where innocent victims have been injured or even died as a result of hospital care at a weekend which fell short of the standards they were entitled to expect.

“Issues highlighted that require urgent attention include improving general staffing levels over weekends, as well as increasing the availability of more senior staff to enhance supervision and improve the quality of urgent clinical decision making.

“The NHS needs to making its top priority to provide consistent care on every day of the week should boost patient safety and reduce the number of adverse incidents.”