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[Comment] Data linkage studies can help to explain the weekend effect

Is the weekend effect a worrying manifestation of systematic deficiencies in the quality and safety of health care, or instead simply an artefact, constructed from confounding, bias, and the imperfections of existing methods for making sense of observational data? This question has not only motivated a huge number of research studies,1 but also entered the arena of politics and policy, contributing in England to the first industrial protest by junior doctors in 40 years.2 Although the consequences are hard to measure, popular awareness of the weekend effect could plausibly have fostered anxiety in the minds of patients and families about the safety of seeking health care at the weekend.

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