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Risk of death '82% higher for a weekend operation than a Monday procedure'

People who have surgery towards the end of the week are more likely to die that those who have procedures earlier on, UK researchers have found.

A BMJ report into non-emergency operations in England found that people having operations on a weekend were 82% more likely to die than if they had operations on a Monday, although only a minority of planned operations take place on weekends.

The study found that people having their operation on a Friday 44% were more likely to die than those who have a procedure on a Monday. The researchers found that the lowest risk for surgery was if it was carried out on Monday, which increased with each subsequent day, with the highest risk at the weekend.

Lead author Dr Paul Aylin, a clinical reader in epidemiology and public health and the assistant director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, concluded: ‘The study suggests a higher risk of death for patients who have elective surgical procedures carried out later in the working week and at the weekend.’

His team of Imperial College London researchers gathered data on all non-emergency surgery in the NHS in England from 2008-09 to 2010-11.

Looking at more than 4 million operations, they found 27,582  deaths within 30 days of surgery, putting the overall average risk of death at 0.67%.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Surely Jeremy Hunt will ban all operations on Friday until patient safety can be assured again! What we need is an disproportionate jerk reaction. (All those that think I missed out the 'knee' in that last sentence - I didn't!)

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  • For Senior Medical Staff and those unwilling to pay overtime rates there are only 5 days in a week

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  • There are 7 days in the week and it is not rocket science to change contracts of employment so that all the days are covered adequately – Gerry Robinson identified this back in 2007 and the consultants were against it – surprise not. Expensive equipment only being used Monday to Friday and there being a waiting list !!!
    Everyone needs to understand that the NHS is 24/7 not 24/5 - so come on this needs to be sorted out we are not playing games here these are peoples lives /health.

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  • I think you may find it is a 24/4 service soon as many daily mail readers will now DNA if they are scheduled for surgery on a Friday! Another chance for Surgeons to catch up with GPs on the golf course - no doubt? *rolls eyes*

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