Dr Foster, the health intelligence and statistics company, have released their new hospital guide. The accompanying press release says that,
The Hospital Guide shows that patients are less likely to get treated promptly and more likely to die if they are admitted to hospital at the weekend. The chances of survival are better in hospitals that have more senior doctors on site. But some hospitals with A&E departments have few senior doctors in hospital at weekends or overnight. The guide identifies trusts with low levels of staffing and high mortality.
The reality is that the public don’t live their lives Monday to Friday. That means that we may very well need care on the weekends. If hospitals are not staffing their A&E departments and wards to match the needs of patients then they need to change how they organise themselves.
It is not a complicated exercise to track admissions and care patterns to see when staff are required.
If an organisation is not matching resource to need it will be performing below optimal levels which in the case of the NHS can mean an increase in mortality and longer times to access care. This is something that is operationally simple to change and however culturally difficult, needs to be done for the good of patients.