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December 27, 2016

Higher Mortality in Weekend Admissions to the HospitalTrue, False, or Uncertain?

Author Affiliations
  • 1London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
JAMA. 2016;316(24):2593-2594. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16410

Concern about patients having a higher risk of dying if admitted to a hospital on Saturday or Sunday, the so-called weekend effect, has taken on great political importance in England over the past year. This issue has advanced from being a long-standing topic of interest only to health services researchers and policy makers to one that has assumed high media coverage when the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, cited it as the prime reason for increasing service provision on weekends and, in turn, why the junior doctors (physicians in training) in the NHS (National Health Service) should accept new terms and conditions of service. In support of Hunt’s claims, the Department of Health for England assembled an overview of the topic and concluded that there was “significant evidence demonstrating this weekend effect.”1

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