UK report: Patients more likely to die on Friday than weekday

Patients are 24 percent more likely to die on Friday than if they had their operation earlier in the week, a new report from the United Kingdom revealed.

The statistics from healthcare analysis firm Dr Foster Intelligence show weekend hospital admission patients have a 20 percent greater chance of dying on a weekend, and are 3.9 percent more likely to be readmitted in an emergency on Saturday or Sunday, according to the report.

The study included an online survey of more than 5,500 doctors--68 percent of whom believe people admitted on the weekends receive poorer care because of a lack of senior staff on duty and less access to key diagnostic tests, such as scans, the report states. 

Eight National Health Service trusts have higher death rates on the weekends, including Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, while at seven trusts, patients admitted on the weekends are more likely to return to the hospital after discharge, according to an article from the Daily Mail Online.

"We have now looked at many different aspects of quality of care. Every indicator we look at shows that patients who come to hospitals on weekends get worse care and worse outcomes," said Roger Taylor, director of research at Dr Foster, according to the report. "We are pleased that the NHS has made addressing this issue a priority and there is evidence that these efforts are already starting to yield benefits for patients with shorter waits for operations at weekends and, in some cases, lower mortality rates."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the findings were "completely unacceptable," and that he wanted the NHS to provide quality care seven days a week, according to the article.

Weekend hospitalization statistics aren't just a problem in the U.K. In the U.S., research shows when patients are admitted to the hospital on Friday night or over the weekend, they stay in the hospital longer than those admitted Monday through Thursday, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Hospitals are also less likely to perform a major procedure on a patient on the same day as admission over the weekend than on a weekday, according to FierceHealthcare.

To learn more:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- check out the article