Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven day NHS services: what trusts are doing

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 01 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1256
  1. Anne Gulland, freelance journalist
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. agulland{at}

Anne Gulland looks at what is being provided by NHS trusts at the forefront of seven day services

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to introducing seven day urgent and emergency care services—local solutions will need to be found.” This was the message from NHS England’s medical director, Bruce Keogh, in 2013 when he outlined his vision for transforming the NHS.1 It is true that trusts have followed their own path, but a snapshot of how trusts in England have implemented seven day services reveals many similarities.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, one of 13 “early adopter” pilot sites for seven day services, took its cue from a Royal College of Physicians report in 2013.2

Before the trust launched its seven day service it had a gap in consultant cover in the middle of the day at weekends, as the consultants would do ward rounds only in the morning and evening. The trust invested £2.1m (received from Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group) in developing a seven day, consultant led service. It recruited three additional consultants in acute medicine, now 8.5 whole time equivalents (WTEs), and three additional consultants in emergency medicine, now 10 WTEs. A further 32 members of staff, including nurses, pharmacy staff, discharge coordinators, and additional support from junior doctors, were recruited to help cover weekend work.

Working with other trusts

Consultants work one weekend in six—more than before—and the trust now has onsite consultant cover from 8 am till 9 pm, seven days a week. It has seven day computed …

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