NHS medical director sets out detail of seven day working

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 16 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7555
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Plans to move the NHS in England to a new pattern of seven day working have been published by a committee set up by Bruce Keogh, the national medical director. The case had already been accepted in principle, but the report of the NHS Services, Seven Days a Week Forum sets out for the first time detailed plans for achieving it in secondary care.1

“More than 50 years of accumulated custom and practice have failed to put the interests of patients first,” Keogh said. “As the custodians of £97bn [€115bn; $160bn] of public money, we must buy the health services patients deserve. We know that patients and the public want us to act now to make seven day services a reality in all parts of the NHS.”

Patients who are admitted to hospitals at weekends show significantly different death rates, experience, length of stay, and readmission rates, the forum reports. Nor is the problem unique to the NHS, affecting most healthcare systems in the world.

The causes include variable staffing levels …

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