Seven day services: how are trusts doing against Keogh’s clinical standards?BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1258 (Published 01 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1258
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It is interesting that although this article highlights the vital importance of diagnostic imaging to delivering 'seven day services', it is illustrated with a picture of someone being set up to receive therapeutic radiotherapy.
While patients can receive emergency radiotherapy out of hours when there is a clinical need, such as for spinal cord compression, the overwhelming majority of radiotherapy is delivered to patients in an elective, out-patient setting. While it could be argued that treating these patients on a seven day basis might make better use of expensive equipment, which is often not in use over the weekend, it would place significant demands on patients who have to travel daily for treatment, and pose logistical challenges to radiographers and other groups of hospital staff.
Competing interests: No competing interests
Anne Gulland's article provides an interesting perspective about the Trusts held up as shining examples by Hunt in pushing the 7-day NHS agenda. The policy has repeatedly been used as an excuse by Hunt to push through a new Junior Doctors' contracts, saying that changes to this contract is necessary to facilitate a 7-day NHS. Ironically all the measures cited by Gulland relate to the Consultant cover at Salisbury and Northumbria. There is no mention of the contribution Junior Doctors may or may need to make to facilitate 7-day care, suggesting that the Junior Doctors' contract has nothing to do with 7-day care.
1. Jeremy Hunt updates Parliament on the junior doctors' contract. Oral statement to Parliament. 11 February 2016. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-hunt-updates-parliament-on...
Competing interests: I am a Junior Doctor.