Elderly patients with fractured hips who undergo surgery on Sundays are more likely to die, a major study suggests.
Those who undergo the operation, deemed a medical emergency, have a 10 per cent increased risk of death in the month that follows.
Experts believe that provision for such procedures are inadequate in many hospitals across the country, leaving people at risk. The latest findings of nearly 250,000 British adults back up a host of evidence that points to a ‘weekend effect’ in the NHS.Bristol University researchers looked at every single hip fracture that occurred in England and Wales between 2011 and 2014.
Some 30,313, or 12.5 per cent, were found to happen on a Sunday, leaving an eighth of patients vulnerable.
The researchers also found that being discharged from the hospital on a Sunday for a fractured hip dramatically increased the risk of death.
Patients had a 51.5 per cent higher chance of dying in the 30 days following the operation – when they are most at risk.
However, they were keen to point out that this occurrence is relatively rare, happening in just 2.5 per cent of cases.
Being discharged out-of-hours during the week was linked to a 17.4 higher chance of mortality, according to the study published in BMC Medicine.
In a separate finding, they found a delay to surgery of more than 24 hours also increases the risk of death by 10 per cent.Study author Adrian Sayers told MailOnline that these patients are already ‘very old, and very frail’ and quite at risk generally.The ‘weekend effect’ that is said to make surgery on Saturday or Sunday riskier has been blamed on a lack of skilled senior staff.
Senior doctors – consultants – are rarely present at weekends and there are no staff on hand to carry out x-rays, blood tests or other vital scans.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has previously cited evidence of the issue in his attempt to push for a seven-day NHS.
Data of more than 16.3 million patient admissions, collected by the health service and released in October, backed up his claims.
They showed those brought in for operations over the weekend were 15 per cent more likely to die within 30 days.
And Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, once calculated that 11,000 deaths a year are down to the ‘weekend effect’.
He added: ‘The analysis has brought up questions of the importance of timing of surgery, how surgery on a Sunday differs from the rest of the week.
‘The care that you get at the weekend is at least the equivalent, if not better than what you get in the week.’Time from hospital admission to surgery was also a crucial factor in the 30-day survival rate.
Health watchdog NICE recommends that patients go under the knife within 36 hours of entering A&E.
But the new study found that patients are 10 per cent less likely to die if they have the procedure within 24 hours.
Sufferers of fractured hips are known to be at an increased risk of heart problems, pneumonia and blood clots following surgery.
While the broken hip itself can make someone dramatically more frail by the disability it causes them.
This comes just days after a major study found the complete opposite – concluding that weekend surgery is safe.
Edinburgh University researchers found patients who were admitted over a weekend were more likely to be operated on sooner.
Those who undergo hip fracture surgery, deemed a medical emergency, have a 10 per cent increased risk of death in the month that follows, a study found b-error
The researchers also found that being discharged from the hospital on a Sunday after having fractured hip surgery dramatically increased the risk of death