Risk to babies born in hospital over the weekend is 7.3% higher than during the week, new study finds
Chief researcher suggests findings might be down to understaffing in struggling maternity units.
Babies at ‘higher risk’ if born in hospital at the weekend
- New study reveals the added ‘risk’ to babies born in hospitals at the weekend
A new study into the care pregnant women receive from NHS hospitals if they give birth over the weekend, has revealed shocking findings.
The study, by Imperial College London looked at the “weekend effect” on 1.3 million births in England between April 2010 and March 2012. The results revealed that 770 babies delivered each year in NHS hospitals on a Saturday or Sunday are either stillborn or die within 7 days.
Findings revealed these figures are notably higher than if babies are born during the week with weekend figures being 7.3% higher than during the week.
Dr William Palmer, who led the study, is reported as finding significant associations “which were consistent with a lower standard of care for women admitted and babies born at weekends”.
He said: “One hypothesis is there could be less experienced staff on duty at weekends.”
Understaffing on struggling maternity wards was another possible theory he put forward to explain the findings.
In response to the findings, The Royal College of Midwives’, Louise Silverton, said: “Midwifery and maternity staffing levels are the same on weekends as they are on weekdays. Midwives work across 24 hours, 365 days per year.”
Also revealed in the study was that NHS hospitals with more consultants in on weekends had a lower rate of injury to mums during child birth than others.