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Saturday 21st September 2019

Stroke patients at risk at weekends

11th July 2012

New evidence has suggested that stroke patients who go into hospital weekends are less likely to receive urgent treatment and will have a worse outcome.


A team from Imperial College London and the National Audit Office examined the care of 93,621 stroke patients admitted to NHS hospitals from April 2009 to March 2010.

They examined six indicators which included: brain scan on the day of admission; thrombolysis treatment; diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia; seven-day in-hospital mortality; discharge to usual place of residence within 56 days; and 30-day emergency readmission.

Researchers found performance across five of six measures was lower on weekends, with one of the largest disparities seen in rates of same-day brain scans which was 43.1 % on weekends but 47.6 % on weekdays.

The rate of seven-day, in-hospital mortality for Sunday admissions was 11% compared with a weekday average of 8.9%.

The authors concluded: “We calculated that approximately 350 potentially avoidable in-hospital deaths occur within seven days each year and that an additional 650 people could be discharged to their usual place of residence within 56 days if the performance seen on weekdays was replicated on weekends.”

They also suggest that the study provides some evidence to support previous findings that contributing factors might include a decreased proportion of stroke patients on weekends being admitted under the responsibility of stroke specialists or having access to fast-track discharge pathways.

In the NHS in England, stroke is the largest cause of adult disability and costs £3 billion a year for direct care.


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