Understandably, who wants to get admitted to a hospital? But life is such, and in the unavoidable event that this is to happen, it would be wise, if possible, not to get in on a weekend.
The British Independent newspaper highlighted this under the ominous headline, “Weekends worse for hospital deaths” recently. It pointed out that an NHS London study found patients admitted to hospital at weekends were more at risk of dying than those treated during the week, largely due to a lack of hospital consultants at weekends.
Quite frankly, most hospitals throughout the world operate on skeleton staff during weekends just to provide the basic services on-site. On the occasion where an urgent specialist referral is required, a duty roster is in existence to summon the specialist from his home, but this usually takes some time. If an emergency procedure is required, there is bound to be a time lapse before all available personnel can be summoned.
Many hospitals cut off ‘non-essential services’ after office-hours. You’ll be hard-pressed to find dieticians , physiotherapists and some specialists on weekends.The reason is largely pure economics – having then around means paying overtime wages which in the long run may not be economically feasible. Economics aside, hospital staff are basically human and require their rest and ‘me time’ like the rest of us.
It may seem unfair, but hospitals do charge an ‘overtime fee’ or surcharge if services are provided after office-hours, to compensate for the overtime charges of their staff on duty. A CT scan can easily cost double the usual charge if done on weekends. Its okay, the insurance will pay for it, you may say. But third-party payors are getting wise; and, apart from co-payments (where a percentage of the hospital charge has to be paid by the consumer), insurance companies have been known to refuse to pay if such procedures are deemed (in their eyes) to be of a non-emergency nature.
For elective procedures, one would be well-advised to have then done during weekdays, if only to ensure that the full staff complement is at hand, should the need arise for their involvement.
- A&E death rates ‘rise on weekends’ (mirror.co.uk)
- NHS hospitals have higher death rates at weekends, research finds (guardian.co.uk)
- Hospital care at weekends ‘risky’ (bbc.co.uk)