Not only has Jeremy Hunt been telling porkies (his boss would know a lot about porkies), but it seems his weekend includes at least two more days than anybody else’s.
What a relief that people admitted to hospital on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays aren’t likely to suffer “excess” cases of death.
Come to think of it, though… If more days are included in the “excess deaths” figure, shouldn’t that be considered the normal number, with those admitted on the remaining days being part of the extraordinary figure – an extraordinarily low figure, that is.
The editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has accused Jeremy Hunt of misrepresenting key findings about death rates among patients admitted to hospital at the weekend.
In a letter to the health secretary, Fiona Godlee took issue with him repeatedly claiming that there are 11,000 “excess” deaths among such patients within 30 days of their admission, and blaming that on understaffing at weekends.
Hunt has cited as his source a study co-written by NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh that was published in the BMJ last month, referring to it in parliament and media statements recently to justify the new contract he has threatened to impose on junior doctors in England and the drive to create a seven-day NHS.
However, while the study found that 11,000 more patients a year die after being admitted on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday than on any other day of the week, it warned that it would be “rash and misleading” to conclude that an exact number of them could have been avoided.
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