Weekend working plans for NHS

Routine NHS services are to be provided seven days a week, a new body has proposed.

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Seven-day NHS 'needs investment'

Today's guidance is an extremely ambitious plan for the NHS in England, particularly at this time of major structural change and continuing financial pressure.

While many of the aims are laudable, new clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will have the very real challenge of putting these aspirations into practice.

While we are committed to improving services at weekends and in the evenings, today's proposals to provide routine NHS procedures seven days a week are too crude and fail to take into account the resources, investment and flexibility that will be needed to achieve this.

– Dr Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association

NHS services 'should be available seven days a week'

Patients deserve the best care in hospitals in the evenings and at weekends.

In 2010 we recommended that any hospital admitting acutely ill patients should have a consultant physician on-site for at least 12 hours per day, seven days a week, who should have no other duties scheduled during this time.

We believe that to make this aim a reality, some services will need to be redesigned and may have resource implications.

– Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP)


NHS reforms 'should give patients more rights'

There are big challenges, not least the financial backdrop, but we must be ambitious. We want to make the NHS the best customer service in the world by doing more to put patients in the driving seat.

We are determined to focus on outcomes and the rights people have under the NHS Constitution, as well as ensure those most in need gain most from the support we provide.

– NHSCB chief executive Sir David Nicholson

'Tesco-style' NHS proposed

Sir Bruce Keogh of the NHS commissioning board has said that the health service should move towards a seven-day model, and drew on Tesco as an example.

Surgeons could be asked to work around the clock Credit: PA Wire

He told the Sunday Times: “If you wanted a day case operation, and you didn’t want to take a day off work, why can’t you have it on a Saturday or Sunday?

“Tesco have had to go through this – it was a complex issue for them.”

However the British Medical Association (BMA) has rebuffed the comparison.

A spokeswoman said: “The health service is not Tesco — I don’t think that is a good comparison.

"As doctors, of course we want to improve services we offer patients, but there has to be investment in sources that underpin that.”

NHS 'should operate seven days a week'

GP practices will be expected to be open seven days a week Credit: PA Wire

Hospitals and GP practices will provide services seven days a week, the report states, claiming that the move is "essential" to offer a more patient-focused service.

It will also improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs, the report states.

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh will establish a forum to find a way to implement a seven-day service. He will report on his findings in autumn next year.

As a first step, the forum will look at diagnostics and urgent and emergency care, the spokeswoman said.

NHS weekend services to be considered

GPs will be expected to open surgeries during the weekend Credit: PA Wire

Routine NHS services are to be provided seven days a week, a new body has proposed.

The health service "needs to offer greater customer convenience" by running throughout the week, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) said.

The organisation, set up under the Health and Social Care Act, has published its first planning guidance to the NHS.

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