1. ITV Report

Patients admitted on bank holidays more likely to die

A new report has found that emergency patients admitted to hospital on a bank holiday are almost 50% more likely to die within 7 days than those admitted at other times.

The research was carried out at the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary between January 2008 and December 2010. It follows a nationwide report last year that highlighted the danger of being admitted to hospital at the weekend.

The report also found that after 30 days of being in hospital, the death rate for bank holiday admissions was 11.3%, compared with 8.7% for admissions on regular working days.

The Royal College of Physicians has been campaigning for a '7 day NHS' for several years. A spokesman for the RCP said that progress was slow.

"We've known for many years that mortality rates for patients admitted at the weekend is higher than for patients admitted during the week. The findings (of the report) are quite striking but it doesn't really come as a surprise to doctors or nurses working in hospitals in the UK at the moment."

– Dr Andrew Goddard, Royal College of Physicians

A hospital spokesman said that mortality rates have significantly improved since the research was carried out and that staffing levels there are no different to other hospitals across Scotland.

“In common with other Scottish Health Boards, we review appropriate clinical staffing levels to ensure safe service provision.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway is also actively engaged in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme which has delivered significant improvements in outcomes for hospital inpatients. In particular, NHS Dumfries and Galloway has achieved a 15.8% reduction in standardised hospital mortality since 2008”

– Spokesman, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

The Royal College of Physicians has said that the ideal solution to the problem is having another 10,000 consultants across the UK, but they acknowledge that is just simply not realistic, especially during these austere times.