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“Weekend effect” linked to 11,000 more hospital deaths a year


7 September 2015

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Around 11,000 more people die each year after being admitted to hospital at the weekend, rather than mid-week, a large-scale study revealed.

The study of 15 million UK hospital admissions, was by University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trusts and University College London, and included Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England.

Around 11,000 more people die each year after being admitted to hospital at the weekend, rather than mid-week, a large-scale study revealed.

The study of 15 million UK hospital admissions, was by University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trusts and University College London, and included Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England.

The authors found that around 11,000 more people die each year within 30 days of admission to hospital on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday compared with other days of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).

The research, published in the Britih Medical Journal (BMJ), suggests a generalised “weekend effect”, which can be partly explained by the reduced support services that start from late Friday through the weekend, leading to disruption on Monday morning, the authors said.

Patients already in hospital over the weekend that were admitted midweek do not have an increased risk of death.

However, the authors cautioned that it isn’t possible to show that this excess number of deaths could have been prevented, adding that to do so would be “rash and misleading”.

Yet, they said the number is “not otherwise ignorable” and “we need to determine exactly which services need to be improved at the weekend to tackle the increased risk of mortality”.

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