New Study Highlights The Need For NHS Weekend Staffing Improvements

Research Finds That Death Was More Likely Following A Weekend Admission


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Expert medical negligence lawyers have reiterated calls for improvements to staffing in the NHS on Saturdays and Sundays after a new study found that death was more likely following a weekend admission.

The study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, analysed data involving nearly 295,000 patients and found fewer patients die after emergency surgery in hospitals that have more doctors and nurses.

Weekend admissions for emergency surgery led to an 11% increased risk in death compared with weekdays.

Ministers in England are looking to improve staffing levels on the weekend, citing previous research as the basis for their policy.

The third of hospitals with the lowest number of doctors per bed had death rates 7% higher than the third with the most and the difference was the same for nursing staffing levels.

Early this year a report from the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trusts and University College London found that around 11,000 more people die every year within 30 days of admission to hospital on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday compared with other days of the week.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, called that report a real “wake-up call” but there has been no wide scale changes as a result.

Sarah Coles, Partner and Medical Negligence expert at national law firm Irwin Mitchell believes it’s time for action to ensure there is the best possible level of care available at all times.

Expert Opinion
“We have repeatedly called for an improvement in weekend care after seeing the tragic result of cases where patients did not receive the care they needed.

“Treatment must be of an appropriate standard at all times to ensure unnecessary injuries and avoidable deaths are prevented. It is not necessarily a case of more doctors or nurses but making sure that the appropriate level of care can be provided and that if necessary, experienced staff are available for staff to consult.

“The NHS is under constant pressure to deliver and carries out excellent work the vast majority of the time but ultimately nothing should come before patient safety.

“This report makes clear that there is a higher mortality rate at weekends compared to during the week and this is why we feel the Government and the NHS need to investigate how services can be improved and if more staff can be employed on Saturdays and Sundays."
Sarah Coles, Partner