A new report has found a "worrying" spike in death rates among patients admitted to hospitals in England at the weekend.
The health information company Dr Foster reports in the tenth edition of its Hospital Guide that patients admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment during the weekend are almost 10 per cent more likely to die than those admitted during the week and in some trusts rates were found to rise 20 per cent or more.
The guide states that chances of survival are better in hospitals that have more senior doctors on site at the weekends. It calls for the re-organisation of services to ensure safe care 24/7 with local A&E departments identifying the services they can provide safely and linking with others to provide the services they can’t.
Roger Taylor, Director of Research and co-founder of Dr Foster, said: "A safe NHS is an NHS that provides care 24/7. This year’s guide shows we are some way from that target with significantly reduced services at weekends and nights.
"It is concerning that many of the issues raised in the first Hospital Guide remain problems 10 years later: hospitals performing low volumes of surgery where high levels are needed to ensure good outcomes, and hospitals failing to meet the best standards of care despite many years of evidence of the impact this has on patients.
"However, fewer people died in 2009 than in any year since the mid 1950s – despite the population being larger and older. A large part of that success is down to improvements in care with in-hospital mortality rates falling steadily over the last 10 years since we first published the Hospital Guide."