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New evidence of worse outcomes for weekend patients reignites call for seven day hospital services

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 06 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e892
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Patients admitted to hospital at the weekend are significantly more likely to die within 30 days than those admitted during the week, concludes a study that has led to renewed calls for the NHS to provide true seven day access.

The comprehensive study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, analysed all 14.2 million admissions to NHS hospitals in England between April 2009 and March 2010, during which time there were 187 337 in-hospital deaths within 30 days of admission (doi:10.1258/jrsm.2012.120009). A supportive analysis found a total of 284 852 deaths within 30 days, whether in or out of hospital.

The study took into account diagnosis, comorbidities, admission history, age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, seasonality, day of admission, and hospital trust.

For every 100 deaths within 30 days of patients admitted to hospital on a Wednesday, the study found that there would be 116 deaths of patients admitted on a Sunday (95% confidence interval 114 to 118; P<0.0001). However, the study also found that the likelihood of patients dying in hospital is less at the weekend than during the week. For every 100 deaths of patients in …

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