About 3,000 more Australian patients have a complication in their hospital care in January than in other months, according to a new report – just over 11.5 per cent compared to the average 11 per cent.
Why? Because it’s the month when over 3,000 newly graduated doctors start the next stage of their training. It’s also when new nurses and allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists and hospital pharmacists, begin new jobs and many senior staff take leave.
This staff disruption can affect patient care, for example, patients being given the wrong dose or type of drug or developing pressure sores from not moving enough.
Australia isn’t the only one to experience this phenomenon. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s known as the “July Effect”, while doctors’ first days in the UK are even referred to as ‘Black Wednesday’ among hospital staff.
But what if you can’t avoid a hospital stay? If you think your medication may be wrong or the care being received doesn’t seem right – at any time of the year – say something. It can’t hurt.