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?


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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