Patients are 16% more likely to die within 30-days of admission if they are admitted to a hospital on Sunday and the likelihood is 11% for Saturday admissions, as compared to midweek admissions (Wednesday), a review of NHS data suggests.
The researchers said, "For every 100 deaths following admissions on a Wednesday, 116 occur for admissions on a Sunday - a significant increased risk."
Lead researcher Professor Domenico Pagano, from the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust, said, "Several reasons may be behind the findings, including that patients who are seriously ill can find themselves admitted on weekends. If they were less ill, they would have had their admissions postponed until a week day."
Also, the chances of recovery are less for weekend admissions because senior doctors are absent, tests and scans are not immediately available and there might be a wrong mix of staff. Therefore, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley suggested that the number of senior doctors working on weekends should be increased.
The study is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM).