Did you brave the ice and snow this weekend?

Adapted from Baby it’s cold outside but don’t slip on the ice until Monday

Julia Manning for Daily Mail 3rd Feb

With the weather men and women rightly promising us snow last weekend, the advice from the NHS should have been be not to go outside until Monday. Not because it’s too cold, but because the chances are that if we have an accident, we will get a third-world level of treatment if we need to visit our local hospital. Last year a study from Dr Foster showed that patients admitted at weekends have a higher death rate. On Friday a large study by University College London agrees, showing a 16% higher death rate if you are admitted on a Sunday and an 11% higher death rate if you are admitted on a Saturday. And don’t think it’s just the elderly who have a poorer prognosis. A teacher at my daughter’s junior school fell over on the ice one December weekend. She died of undetected internal injuries – aged 32.

For those with more minor injuries, chances are you will be left languishing until the skeleton staff is bolstered on Monday. However a GP friend of mine saw his son’s fractured leg neglected from the Saturday of his accident to the following Wednesday when this GP finally got a hospital doctor to take some action and get his son treated and discharged.

Secretary of State Andrew Lansley has ordered a ‘fundamental rethink’ of how hospitals are run at the weekend. However as I said last November, we know there are too many hospitals with resources spread to thinly. Wouldn’t you prefer a longer ambulance journey with the confidence of immediate, high quality treatment than the uncertainty of a short journey that ends in a hospital ghost-town and prospects of inferior treatment?

The real scandal is that this isn’t news. We’ve known it for decades. Why haven’t hospital chief executives done something about this?

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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