As the system is currently set up, consultant cover drops significantly at weekends. A recent Freedom of Information request by the Daily Telegraph found in general medicine it fell five-fold.
The result of this is that the consultants in work are stretched more thinly and junior doctors have to do more.
That means these vital tests and procedures sometimes cannot take place until Monday comes. The suspicion among experts is that this is one of the reasons why, as the study published by the British Medical Journal on Sunday suggests, patient care may be being hampered.I can only go by my own experience with the NHS. Earlier this year, I underwent an NHS hospital operation on a Friday; the consultant came to see me at 7am on the Saturday morning to explain how it went and then again at 9am on the Sunday morning to check on progress. My second operation in September actually took place on a Sunday.
So no complaints from me about consultants. Nor about the terrific nursing care I received on those weekends.