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08 September 2015

Reduced chance of survival for hospital patients admitted on a weekend

A recently published report has found new evidence that suggests patients that are admitted to hospital on a weekend have a much less significant chance of survival than those admitted during the traditional working week.

The study, lead by the NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh, analysed data from 15.9 million hospital admissions throughout 2013-2014 and highlighted that there was a “weekend effect”.

The increased risk of death if a patient was admitted on a Saturday or a Sunday as opposed to a Wednesday was 10% and 15% higher respectively.

It is claimed that an additional 11,000 patients die within 30 days every year in the UK if they are admitted between Friday and Monday. Following the report, Mr. Keogh stated that hospitals are “not as well-equipped at the weekend to deal with very sick patients. The moral and social case for action is simply unassailable.”

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It is thought the findings could play a significant role in the proposed reform of consultant contracts to address the ‘Monday to Friday’ culture. Many doctors remain unconvinced that round-the-clock care is achievable though, especially at a time when the NHS budget has to be reduced by £22 billion.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the findings were a “wake-up call” and insisted there is an “urgent need to update consultant contracts” so that NHS patients are not worrying about staffing levels, or the quality of care they will receive should they be admitted to a hospital on a weekend.

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