The Economics of Elevated Hospital Mortality at Weekends

OHE Lunchtime Seminar with Professor Matt Sutton, Manchester Centre for Health Economics, University of Manchester.

The English National Health Service is moving rapidly towards providing comprehensive seven day hospital services in response to higher death rates for emergency weekend admissions. However, there is as yet no clear evidence that seven day services will reduce weekend deaths or is a cost-effective use of resources. We begin by estimating the number of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) associated with the elevated mortality risk at weekends and compare this to the published estimates of the costs of implementing seven day services. We then consider whether elevated hospital mortality at weekends is a supply or a demand side phenomenon. Using data on 2.9million A&E attendances and 700,000 emergency admissions to eight hospitals in Greater Manchester over the period 1st April 2011-31st March 2014, we show that attendance volumes and admission probabilities are significantly lower at weekends compared to weekdays. Taking account of these sources of variation in patient selection substantially reduces the estimate of the elevated mortality risk for weekend emergency admissions. We conclude that the weekend effect is well described but poorly understood. Policy makers and service providers should focus on identifying specific service extensions for which cost-effectiveness can be demonstrated.
Matt Sutton is a Professor of Health Economics at the Manchester Centre for Health Economics, within the Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester. Prior to this he was Professor of Health Economics at the University of Aberdeen, and prior to that has worked at the Universities of Glasgow and York and in the Scottish Government as an Economic Advisor. He has been interested in the economics of health and health care for over 20 years, and has published over 100 articles and reports on a diverse range of topics. He has been an Associate Editor of Health Economics since 2007, the joint National Organiser for the UK Health Economists’ Study Group since 2011, and was elected recently to the European Health Economics Association Executive Committee. He regularly reviews grant applications for major national funding bodies, and is a member of the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme Board and the Department of Health Policy Research Programme Board.
The lunchtime seminar will be held on Thursday 11 June 2015, King George Room, Marriott County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB.
A buffet lunch will be available from 12:00 noon. The seminar will start promptly at 12.30 pm and finish promptly at 2.00 pm.
View the full invite here.
Thursday, 11 June 2015