KS Leong, A Titman, M Brown, R Powell, E Moore, D Bowen-Jones
Journal Issue: 
Volume 45: Issue 4: 2015



Weekend admission is associated with higher in-hospital mortality than weekday admission. Whether providing enhanced weekend staffing for acute medical inpatient services reduces mortality or length of stay is unknown.

Methods This paper describes a retrospective analysis of in-hospital mortality and length of stay before and after introduction of an enhanced, consultant-led weekend service in acute medicine in November 2012. In-hospital mortality was compared for matching admission calendar months before and after introduction of the new service, adjusted for case volume. Length of stay and 30-day post-discharge mortality were also compared; illness severity of patients admitted was assessed by cross-sectional acuity audits.

Results Admission numbers increased from 6,304 (November 2011–July 2012) to 7,382 (November 2012–July 2013), with no change in acuity score in elderly medical patients but a small fall in younger patients. At the same time, however, a 57% increase in early-warning score triggered calls was seen in 2013 (410 calls vs 262 calls in 2012; p<0.01). Seven-day consultant working was associated with a reduction in in-hospital mortality from 11.4% to 8.8% (p<0.001). Mortality within 30 days of discharge fell from 2.4% to 2.0% (p=0.12). Length of stay fell by 1.9 days (95% CI 1.1–2.7; p=0.004) for elderly medicine wards and by 1.7 days (95% CI 0.8–2.6; p=0.008) for medical wards. Weekend discharges increased from general medical wards (from 13.6% to 18.8%, p<0.001) but did not increase from elderly medicine wards.

Conclusions Introduction of an enhanced, consultant-led model of working at weekends was associated with reduced in-hospital and 30-day post discharge mortality rates as well as reduced length of stay. These results require confirmation in rigorously designed prospective studies.