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Academic calls for MPs to investigate “weekend effect” in view of conflicting evidence

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 11 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2667
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

The House of Commons health select committee is expected to consider holding an investigation into whether patients admitted to hospital at weekends face a greater risk of death than those admitted during the week, after an academic called for a review earlier this week.

The government has argued that evidence of such a “weekend effect” exists and has used this as the basis of its argument for a “seven day” NHS, one of the key issues in its protracted dispute with junior doctors in England over their new contract. In particular, the health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, has cited a paper published in The BMJ to push for changes. The paper, by Nick Freemantle of University College London and colleagues, found that 11 000 more people died each year within 30 days of admission to hospital if they were admitted on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday than if they were admitted on other days of the week.1 However, this analysis did …

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