Patients '10 per cent more likely to die at weekends' 28 Nov 2011

NHS hospital patients admitted for emergency treatment at weekends are almost 10 per cent more likely to die than those admitted during the week.
A report by the Dr Foster Intelligence healthcare information organisation had found one-in-eight trusts had higher than expected death rates on Saturdays and Sundays.
It said that in a "handful" of trusts, the mortality rate was found to have risen 20% or more at weekends.
The report was said to have found "significantly reduced services at weekends and nights", and that mortality rates "rise sharply for patients admitted on a Saturday or a Sunday".
The overall death rate for emergency admissions rose from 7.4 per cent during the week to 8.1 per cent at weekends, a 9.5 per cent increase.
The report, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, was said to have identified 18 trusts - 12 per cent of the total - where mortality rates were found to be higher than expected at weekends.
There were nine trusts where out-of-hours mortality "may be a particular problem" as it was within the expected range during the week but rose on Saturdays and Sundays.
NHS medical director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said that while mortality rates in the NHS were going down, hospitals with high out-of-hours rate had to investigate why they may be falling short.
"By working together and sharing best practice, hospitals can improve services for patients," he said in a statement.
"I will be asking the NHS medical directors to look closely at weekend services to ensure patients admitted at weekends receive the same standards of care as those during the week.
"This problem is not unique to the NHS, it confronts all health systems in the world, but I am confident the NHS is well placed to address these issues."
A spokesman for Dr Foster refused to comment on the findings ahead of the report's official publication tomorrow.