Objective: To assess whether weekend admissions to hospital and/or already being an inpatient on weekend days were associated with any additional mortality risk.
Design: Retrospective observational survivorship study. We analysed all admissions to the English National Health Service (NHS) during the financial year 2009/10, following up all patients for 30 days after admission and accounting for risk of death associated with diagnosis, co-morbidities, admission history, age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, seasonality, day of admission and hospital trust, including day of death as a time dependent covariate. The principal analysis was based on time to in-hospital death.
Participants: National Health Service Hospitals in England.
Main outcome measures: 30 day mortality (in or out of hospital).
Results: There were 14,217,640 admissions included in the principal analysis, with 187,337 in-hospital deaths reported within 30 days of admission. Admission on weekend days was associated with a considerable increase in risk of subsequent death compared with admission on weekdays, hazard ratio for Sunday versus Wednesday 1.16 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.18; P < .0001), and for Saturday versus Wednesday 1.11 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.13; P < .0001). Hospital stays on weekend days were associated with a lower risk of death than midweek days, hazard ratio for being in hospital on Sunday versus Wednesday 0.92 (95% CI 0.91 to 0.94; P < .0001), and for Saturday versus Wednesday 0.95 (95% CI 0.93 to 0.96; P < .0001). Similar findings were observed on a smaller US data set.
Conclusions: Admission at the weekend is associated with increased risk of subsequent death within 30 days of admission. The likelihood of death actually occurring is less on a weekend day than on a mid-week day.