Most of our key industries now manage a 24/7 continuity, and our hospitals should do the same.  It is unacceptable that, in one of the richest countries in the world, patients should suffer unnecessary pain, alarm, or even death, just because hospitals are not fully functioning at weekends.

Recently a hospitalized friend had a painful tube inserted to drain fluid from his lung. There came a time when it would have been safer and far less painful for him to have had it removed; but because this was on a Friday evening, there was no doctor on duty to give permission for the removal; and he had to suffer the discomfort for an entire weekend.  Such stories are frequent.

To make an additional parallel with our industries, it is absurd and a great waste of wholesale electronic cigarettes resources that scanners, and other hugely expensive equipment,  lie idle and unused at weekends.

There is an additional reason why hospital emergency services shouldn’t crank down at weekends. There is an increased chance of accidents from DIY, which many people leave till weekends.  Also, unfortunately, there is a large increase in drink-related accidents (or fights).

The problem of weekends in hospital have become so bad that it has been reported that MRI scans (which may be crucial for life-saving treatment) were six or seven times less likely to be conducted at that time. In the same report we are told that there is a 24% higher death rate for patients who had an operation on a Friday. And, scandalously, death rates for emergency admissions were higher at the weekend in 122 out of 143 acute cases.

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