The Wonder of the World it is

Up to 11,000 extra patients are dying each year after being admitted to hospitals over the weekend, a major study suggests.
Experts said reduced levels of staffing and backup services could be blame for the surge in deaths.

Producer led organisations are unlikely to be running 7/7 are they?

22 thoughts on “The Wonder of the World it is”

  1. Seriously sick people die in the end. This 11000 would have died, maybe a couple of days later. I doubt as to whether the annual total will be less. The idea that it is extra deaths is plainly absurd, the same as that if you stop smoking you will live forever.

  2. TJGM: meningitis, appendicitis, aortic aneurysm, Klebsiella pneumonia, accidental injury…..? With appropriate care have good longterm survival.

  3. If these unfortunate folk are going to die anyway, why should the weekend admission bit be of any significance?

    Indeed, if the weekend admission was of no statistical significance surely there would be no anomaly to detect at all?

  4. Entirely healthy people also die in the end. It’s all futile really; maybe we should just stop bothering with healthcare?

  5. Ljh,

    Recently I was unfortunate enough to end-up at an A&E department on a Saturday night. The place was crowded with drunks.
    That is the real problem with A&E over weekends. Drunks.
    So instead of breathalysing the people arriving at A&E and shunting the drunks to a separate area, with a concrete floor and vomit buckets, as they are crowding out the real emergencies, let us blame the government and underfunding.

    Your list is way to short, what about blocked bladders caused by BEP?

  6. TJGM: practically every medical problem is worsened by neglect. I recall an elderly gent coshed by junior doctors with sedatives for ever increasing agitation who survived the weekend unexamined. He calmed down after catheterization. The problem is socialised medicine not drunks.

  7. “The problem is socialised medicine”: in that case the problem is insoluble because the population is devoted to socialised medicine.

  8. Under socialised medecine the drunks have paid more into the system via tax than the abstemious and have every right to be treated on the NHS. TJGM suggests they be shunted out of the way to die of Klebsiella pneumonia, pancreatitis, subdural haemorrhage, bleeding varices when the solution is that there should be more clinical staff available on a Saturday night than a week night. In a private system, physicians and surgeons do not make social commitments for the weekend but can safely play golf on a Thursday afternoon.

  9. “Under socialised medecine the drunks have paid more into the system via tax than the abstemious”: I’ll bet you’re wrong. Ah, you’ll say, I meant “all other things being equal”. But they ain’t.

  10. Dearieme: I’m sure someone reading the blog will find the figures. Just the other day the stats for smokers proved they were subsidising everyone else. I go ouch every time I buy a bottle of drinkable wine.

  11. Could it be because more serious problems are admitted at weekends, while the ingrowing toenails are treated Mon-Fri, 9-5?

  12. Why wouldn’t serious problems be admitted during the week? Why would more serious problems be admitted at weekends than during the week?

    It doesn’t make sense to compare hospital admissions with elective surgery conducted during weekdays.

    And the “drunks in A&E” bit is bollocks. There are drunks in A&E for about 4-6 hours of a Saturday night. The weekend is considerably longer than 4-6 hours. Most of these admissions will be the elderly, and they aren’t known for razzing it up on a Satuday night and then getting into punchups. Drunks in A&E have next to fuck all effect on these 11,000 extra deaths.

  13. I suspect Rob is very right about the drunks. The thing is, if everyone is forced to pay for the NHS, everyone has a right to access to it’s services, irrespective of whether they have bought that condition on themselves, smokers drunks and fatties included

  14. It seems this ‘weekend effect’ occurs in the USA and Germany as well. And the higher ratio of excess deaths for elective admissions as opposed to emergency admissions is also replicated.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341193/
    http://civitas.org.uk/pdf/weekendmortalityonthecontinent

    There is no obvious solution in these reports. However there is an obvious one to readers of this blog – make a list of all possible recommendations, eliminate those mentioned on the blog of the LHTD, and then implement what remains. World solved.

  15. “The problem is socialised medicine.”

    No it isn’t. Here‘s a recent international comparison. It looks to me as if the problem correlates better to tulip production.

    This is typical Worstall spin – if he stubbed his toe in an NHS hospital car park he’d blame the funding model.

  16. Another thought – if you’re more likely to die at the w/e, encourage people to go in the week.

    Admittedly I have no idea how to to do that, but it’s daft to push for a more 24/7 service if you’re more likely to die in the 2/7 period. Let’s all go to hospital when we’re more likely to die, said Tim Worstall and no-one else ever.

  17. @ SJW
    A comparison with a carefully selected handful of anything can show whatever you like (if challenged I can produce something you will have to admit is ridiculous). Let’s see the figures for ALL Dutch hospitals against all US and all UK hospitals.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “No it isn’t. Here‘s a recent international comparison. It looks to me as if the problem correlates better to tulip production.”

    Well there are not enough countries to make a serious comparison, but what it looks like it correlates to, myself, is the power of the Union. If the local AMA is strong, it will work to keep senior doctors at home on the weekend and so people will die. Just as senior doctors do not work in Emergency much. America might not have much socialised medicine but it does have a powerful AMA.

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