The NHS Improving Quality report NHS services – open seven days a week: every day counts offers case studies and examples of how hospitals, community health and social care services are working together to deliver routine services seven days a week.
In addition, NHS England’s National Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh has set out a plan to drive seven day services across the NHS over the next three years.
The proposals include:
- All emergency admissions must be seen and have a thorough clinical assessment by a suitable consultant as soon as possible but at the latest within 14 hours of arrival at hospital
- Hospital inpatients must have scheduled seven-day access to diagnostic services
- Hospital inpatients must have timely 24 hour access, seven days a week, to consultant-directed interventions that meet the relevant specialty guidelines
- Support services, both in the hospital and in primary, community and mental health settings must be available seven days a week
Dr David Richmond, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said:
“We welcome these proposals set out by Sir Bruce Keogh and the urgent need for a seven-day NHS. However, this is already common practice in many of our units. Diagnostic services need to be available more readily, such that the whole service embraces these aspirations rather than just the acute care segments.
“In maternity care in particular with much of it unpredictable, women need access to services at any time of day or night, seven-days a week. Our Working Party report Tomorrow’s Specialist recommends that future specialists should work in teams, providing on-site care 24 hours a day seven days a week in the larger units. Increasing co-morbidity raises the complexity to levels that requires urgent attention often by multidisciplinary teams.
“Foremost in our minds is the provision of high quality care that is safe, clinically effective and enhances the experience of all patients. It is our role as clinicians to ensure that women and their babies are provided with the best possible care at any time of the day or night.”