Need an operation?

If you need an operation you should be hoping it’s scheduled for earlier in the week because a British survey shows the number of deaths increases as the week progresses.

The 48 hours after the operation is critical, according to Dr Paul Aylin of the London Imperial College.

“If this post-operative period overlaps with the weekend when you’ve got lower numbers of senior staff, you might have lower levels of nursing staff, you might also have reduced numbers of diagnostic services so it might be more difficult to order a blood test or a more complex scan,” he says. . .

In the bad old days when cars were expensively assembled here there was a  theory it was best not to get a Monday or Friday one because workers got careless as they anticipated and recovered from weekends.

It’s not carelessness but rostering which appears to be the cause of higher post-op mortality rates as the week progresses.

But full service 24 hours a day, seven days a week would be a lot more demanding on staff and a lot more expensive.

But maybe it’s not such a problem here anyway:

. . . The acting chief medical officer Stewart Jessamine released a statement saying the usual practice for district health boards is to schedule fewer operations on Fridays than on other week days.

`He also said a health, quality and safety commission review committee noted the risk from elective surgery in New Zealand is very low.

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