Patients admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment at weekends are almost 10 per cent more likely to die than those admitted during the week, it was reported last night.

In a "handful" of trusts, the mortality rate was found to have risen 20 per cent more at weekends, according to a report by the Dr Foster Intelligence healthcare information organisation.

The report was said to have found "significantly reduced services at weekends and nights", and that mortality rates "rise sharply for patients admitted on a Saturday or a Sunday".

NHS medical director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, called for hospitals with high rates to investigate why they may be falling short.

"By working together and sharing best practice, hospitals can improve services for patients," he said. "I will be asking the NHS medical directors to look closely at weekend services to ensure patients admitted at weekends receive the same standards of care as those during the week."

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