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Solicitor discusses weekend hospital death rates

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical Negligence

It is now public knowledge that people admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment during the weekend are almost 10% more likely to die than those taken in during the week.

Research last Autumn by the Dr Foster Intelligence comparative healthcare website found that one in eight NHS trusts had higher than expected death rates on Saturdays and Sundays.

The reason for this is also well known - many hospitals have vastly fewer numbers of senior consultants on site outside normal office hours, and rely on junior doctors, and nurses, to treat critically ill patients.

Dr Foster also said that in a "handful" of trusts, the mortality rate was found to have risen 20% or more at weekends.

This is not dry research and the aftermath is something that I deal with on a regular basis.

Just last week I  received an admission of liability on a fatal accident claim. The deceased was a fit and active 66 year old who died from failure to treat his worsening Asthma. Admitted to hospital on Saturday morning, he died on Sunday evening due to a failure to take an arterial blood gas readings or recognise that his breathing was deteriorating.

One can only hope that a political head of steam is building up to make the necessary changes to ensure that patients do not receive a second class service at weekends.

James Bell is a Medical Negligence Solicitor & Partner at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. For a free consultation call freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online and we will call you.