Start of Hospital Employ of Junior Doctors Coincides with Increase in Death Rates9 years, 4 months ago
Posted on Sep 28, 2009, 6 a.m.
Statistical study backs UK residents’ lack of trust in hospitals during the month of August, as newly qualified doctors start work in NHS hospitals on the first Wednesday of August.
There is a commonly held assumption that early August is an unsafe period to be admitted to hospital in England, as newly qualified doctors start work in NHS hospitals on the first Wednesday of August. Min Hua Jen, from Imperial College (United Kingdom), and colleagues studied data collected on 300,000 emergency patients admitted to English hospitals between 2000 to 2008. Comparing death rates between the first week of August, when new doctors arrive, and the previous week in July, and then adjusting for various factors, the researchers report that the August patients were 6% more likely to die. The differences were most pronounced among medical patients -- those not requiring surgery and not suffering from cancer. For this group, death rates increased by 8%. Concludes the team: “We found evidence that patients admitted on the first Wednesday in August have a higher early death rate in English hospitals compared with patients admitted on the previous Wednesday.”