Objective To evaluate mortality differences between weekend and weekday emergency stroke admissions in England over time, and in particular, whether a reconfiguration of stroke services in Greater London was associated with a change in this mortality difference.
Design, setting and participants Risk-adjusted difference-in-difference time trend analysis using hospital administrative data. All emergency patients with stroke admitted to English hospitals from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2014 were included.
Main outcomes Mortality difference between weekend and weekday emergency stroke admissions.
Results We identified 507 169 emergency stroke admissions: 26% of these occurred during the weekend. The 7-day in-hospital mortality difference between weekend and weekday admissions declined across England throughout the study period. In Greater London, where the reorganisation of stroke services took place, an adjusted 28% (relative risk (RR)=1.28, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.47) higher weekend/weekday 7-day mortality ratio in 2008 declined to a non-significant 9% higher risk (RR=1.09, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.32) in 2014. For the rest of England, a 15% (RR=1.15, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.22) higher weekend/weekday 7-day mortality ratio in 2008 declined to a non-significant 3% higher risk (RR=1.03, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.10) in 2014. During the same period, in Greater London an adjusted 12% (RR=1.12, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.26) weekend/weekday 30-day mortality ratio in 2008 slightly increased to 14% (RR=1.14, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.30); however, it was not significant. In the rest of England, an 11% (RR=1.11, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.15) higher weekend/weekday 30-day mortality ratio declined to a non-significant 4% higher risk (RR=1.04, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.09) in 2014. We found no statistically significant association between decreases in the weekend/weekday admissions difference in mortality and the centralisation of stroke services in Greater London.
Conclusions There was a steady reduction in weekend/weekday differences in mortality in stroke admissions across England. It appears statistically unrelated to the centralisation of stroke services in Greater London, and is consistent with an overall national focus on improving stroke services.
- health policy
- healthcare quality improvement
- quality improvement
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Handling editor Kaveh G Shojania
Contributors All authors contributed to the original research proposal. PPA was instrumental in securing the data. All authors helped refine the classification of outcomes used and the procedure groups for further analysis. PPA, AB and VB carried out the analysis. PPA, AB and VB wrote the first draft. All authors commented on subsequent drafts of the manuscript.
Funding The Dr Foster Unit is an academic unit in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, within the School of Public Health, Imperial College London. The unit receives research funding from the National Institute of Health Research and Dr Foster Intelligence, an independent health service research organisation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Telstra). The Dr Foster Unit at Imperial is affiliated with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. The NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Centre is a partnership between the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London. The Department of Primary Care & Public Health at Imperial College London is grateful for support from the NW London NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research & Care (CLAHRC) and the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval The principal investigator has approval from the Secretary of State and the Health Research Authority under Regulation 5 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 to hold confidential data and analyse them for research purposes (CAG ref 15/CAG/0005). We have approval to use them for research and measuring quality of delivery of healthcare, from the London - South East Ethics Committee (REC ref 15/LO/0824).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.