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A retrospective study of seven-day consultant working: reductions in mortality and length of stay

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  • King Sun Leong
  • Andrew Titman
  • Mark Brown
  • Robyn Powell
  • Evan Moore
  • David Bowen-Jones
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Issue number4
Volume45
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)261-267
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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 postdischarge 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.