The quality of medical care you get could depend on the time of the day you visit a hospital. A U.S. study found big differences in the decision-making of doctors at different times of the day. The chances of getting screened for cancer were higher in the morning than in the late afternoon. Around 64% of women eligible for tests were assigned to breast cancer screening in the hour after 8am. This figure dropped to 48% at 5pm.
The researchers said many doctors suffered from "decision fatigue". This is a mental burn-out that affects the ability to make decisions after hours of work. A researcher said there was "growing evidence that the time of the day and decision fatigue impacts patient care". Another researcher said decision fatigue means people may be less likely to make a new decision after they've been making them all day. This was often the result of being overworked.