freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger When NOT to get ill (part 2) | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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Well talk about an issue that won’t go away. It seems like just the other day when I was writing about how you should stay away from hospitals during the summer months if you want to avoid any risk of being the victim of a fatal medication error. Well, er, that’s probably because it was just the other day… (see Another reason to stay out of hospital?, posted June 3, 2010).

Just over a week later, and there’s a story in today’s Daily Mirror about how you’re more likely to die in an English hospital if you’re admitted at the weekend as opposed to during the week. Only seven percent more likely, but if you think that’s statistically insignificant (as, admittedly, I’m rather fond of saying), consider this: according to researchers at Imperial College London, when they compared the expected number of weekend deaths (based, I assume on the number of weekday deaths) with the actual number of weekend deaths, there were an extra 3,369 during 2005/06 – a figure that, as the Mirror points out, is more than the total number of people killed in road accidents in Great Britain during 2006 (which was 3,201, if you’re interested).

Poor access to hospital services and variations in staffing levels are among the possible contributing factors to the increase in hospital deaths at weekends, claim the Imperial College boffins in their report, just published in the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care.

So if you’re planning on having an accident or any kind of illness that might require a stay on the wards, try and avoid having it at the weekend. Or during the summer. Eeeek.