In May 2013, a British Medical Journal (BMJ) study revealed that patients undergoing planned surgery were more likely to suffer fatal clinical negligence during the weekend than at the beginning of the week.
Naturally, many individuals, medical authorities, and organisations – such as the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) – declared that these findings were unacceptable and that people should receive the same level of care from medical professionals throughout the week.
Reasons behind the poor level of care
Reportedly, the lack of experienced doctors on duty in hospitals during Saturdays and Sundays impacted the safety of patients undergoing elective surgical procedures.
Furthermore, the lack of consultants available during emergency cases at the weekends meant that those patients were more likely to die than if they had been admitted earlier in the week.
The team which undertook the study – led by a clinical reader in epidemiology and public health at Imperial College London – stated that the risk of a poor outcome to medical treatment increased every day after Monday.
A spokesperson for the research team explained, "Compared with Monday, the adjusted odds of death [taking into account case mix] for all elective surgical procedures was 44% higher, and 82% higher, if the procedures were carried out on Friday or at the weekend respectively."
The study also found that the chances of patients dying or suffering other clinical negligence-related injuries were higher if having a lung removed, an operation to improve blood-flow to the heart, or surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Could you be entitled to a claim?
The skill with which operations are undertaken, and the first 48 hours following surgery, are very important to an individual's recovery, so a lower quality of care during certain days of the week is unacceptable.
Fewer experienced staff could mean that a patient does not receive the care they require to successfully recover from their surgery or the initial injuries caused by their accident or illness.
If you or a member of your family have suffered clinical negligence – which resulted in personal injury or illness – you could be eligible to claim compensation for your pain, suffering, and lost earnings.