Research News

Higher nurse to patient ratios on stroke units could cut one death in 25, research shows

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 21 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5260
  1. Andrew Cole
  1. 1London

The number of nurses on stroke units at weekends significantly affects patient mortality as higher nurse to patient ratios may prevent one death in every 25 admissions, new research has shown.

But the study—by Benjamin Bray of King’s College, London and colleagues—did not find a similar correlation among doctors, and it concluded that no significant difference in patient mortality risk existed between units that provided weekend rounds by specialist stroke doctors and those that did not.

The study, published in PLoS Medicine,1 is of particular interest given that a number of studies have shown higher mortality rates among patients admitted at weekends—the so called “weekend effect,” which has led NHS England to identify seven day working as a policy priority for the NHS.

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