Hospital patients at weekend risk

Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

EMERGENCY patients in Doncaster are more likely to die at the weekend than if admitted during the week, according to new figures.

A report by the independent Dr Foster Intelligence, which monitors death rates and treatment times at hospitals and trusts across the country, also found Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was the country’s third worst for emergency hip surgery - with more than half of patients forced to wait more than the recommended 48 hours before going under the knife.

The trust is one of only nine in the country identified as having a higher mortality rate on Saturdays and Sundays than during week days, although there were no figures available on staffing levels at different times of the week.

The Dr Foster Hospital Guide found the number of patients dying in the care of the hospital trust on a weekday was ten per cent higher than the figure predicted nationally. This rose to 17 per cent on Saturday and Sundays.

Trust bosses are now looking into the causes of these figures.

Dr Robin Bolton, medical director of the trust, said: “We need to establish whether this is a statistical quirk so we are carrying out a more detailed analysis.

“This indicator does not relate to patients who die at the weekend (unless they also happened to have been admitted at a weekend), but we are also examining our data to see if we can identify any factors that we can put right and that might adversely affect patient care according to day of the week.”

The report found the trust, which includes Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw District General Hospital, Montagu Hospital and Tickhill Road Hospital, had 93 deaths following surgery in 2010/11, and only six fatalities per 10,000 patients had low-risk conditions.

Overall the number of people who died in the care of the health trust was only two per cent higher than the national average and within its own predicted target for the number of annual deaths.

The rankings are calculated on the number of deaths whilst patients are being treated in hospital, as well as 30 days after treatment. However nationally, deaths in hospitals were at the lowest since the 1950s.