Saturday, 26 September 2009

Deadliest month: As new doctors start in August, mortality rate in A&E departments rises by 6 per cent

If you're going to have an accident, you may want to avoid the first week of August. It is the most dangerous time to be admitted to accident and emergency, a study suggests.
Researchers found hospital mortality rates rise by 6 per cent on the first Wednesday in August.
Perhaps not coincidentally, that is also the day newly qualified doctors, fresh from medical school, are let loose on the wards of NHS hospitals.

Dr Paul Aylin, senior author of the study from the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, said: 'We wanted to find out whether mortality rates changed on the first Wednesday in August, when junior doctors take up their new posts.
'What we have found looks like an interesting pattern and we would now like to look at this in more detail to find out what might be causing the increase.

'Our study does not mean that people should avoid going into hospital that week. This is a relatively small difference in mortality rates, and the numbers of excess deaths are very low.
'It's too early to say what might be causing it. It might simply be the result of differences between the patients who were admitted.'
The rise in deaths could, however, be caused by inexperienced junior doctors finding their feet - at a time when senior doctors are also more likely to be on holiday.

Full article in Daily Mail