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David Cameron – where's your plan for seven-day NHS services?

Seven-day NHS advertsQuestions still remain over seven-day services.

Doctors have been explicit in their support for more seven-day hospital services, and have repeatedly called for the Government to outline their full plans. Last year, the BMA published a number of questions in national newspapers challenging David Cameron to set out the detail of his plans.

A year later questions still remain unanswered. Having been the first to ask fundamental questions about the policy, the BMA is now renewing its demand for answers with further newspaper advertisements, which you can see below.

The questions ask how seven-day services will be funded and staffed, and more importantly, where is David Cameron's plan seven-day services?

The BMA have also sought the public's view on seven-day services, with 66 per cent believing that the Government haven't yet done enough to explain what it means by a seven-day NHS and 79 per cent believing that providing more hospital services at the weekends should not mean fewer services available during the week.

See our message in the Guardian (18 June 2016)



Last year we asked...

Will the cost of a 'truly seven-day NHS' mean some services will have to close?

Without extra investment or the ability to increase the workforce overnight, will the government have to pool resources and staff, leading to the centralisation of services and some services facing closure?

(Click on the image to view the advertisement, as seen in the Daily Mirror)



Where's the plan to find, train and fund the full team needed to deliver a 'truly seven-day NHS'?

Doctors alone cannot deliver more care, they work as part of team that includes nurses, diagnosticians and other support staff.

With existing staff shortages in our hospitals and GP surgeries, the Prime Minister must explain how they will deliver the full range of extra staff needed to provide more care.

Many hospitals have long-term rota gaps as they struggle to recruit and retain doctors and hundreds of training places remain unfilled in general practice.

(Click to view the advertisement, as seen in The Times)


Can the Prime Minister promise no reductions to weekday services in a 'truly seven-day NHS'?

David Cameron must explain whether weekday services will have to be scaled back to deliver more care at weekends.

Without more doctors - and nurses and other support and diagnostic staff - there will be fewer available to work during the week, reducing weekday services.

Many weekday services are already over stretched and understaffed so the government need to explain how they will spread five days’ worth of resources and staff over seven.

(Click to view the advertisement, as seen in the Evening Standard)


A 'truly seven-day NHS' needs a truly seven-day care system: where's the plan for this?

As well as being able to treat patients on a weekend, doctors must also be able to discharge patients, freeing up beds and ensuring those who no longer need to be in hospital can receive the care they need in the community.

Social care has been gutted in recent years - how will David Cameron make sure support and community services are also in place over seven days?

(Click to view the advertisement, as seen in the Metro)


Can the government find the money to pay for a 'truly seven-day NHS'?

The NHS is facing a £30bn funding gap by 2020. The government has pledged £8bn of additional funding - enough to keep the NHS running as is, but not enough to pay for extra care and the additional staff and resources needed to deliver it.

The government must explain how it will fund more weekend care at a time when many hospitals are in serious financial difficulty and general practice is under unprecedented pressure.

And how will they address the existing staffing shortages? It takes 10 years to train a GP, and around 13 years to train a consultant - the workforce can't simply be increased overnight.

(Click to view the advertisement, as seen in The Independent)


How will the government prioritise emergency care in a 'truly seven-day NHS'?

Doctors want the government to make access to seven-day emergency care the priority. Improving this care across the week will ensure seriously ill patients have access to the best care, wherever and whenever they fall ill.

Does the government agree that investing in this care should take priority and will they work with doctors to make this a reality? Will the government commit to improving emergency care before looking at whether and how other services can expanded?

(Click to view the advertisement, as seen in the Guardian)


When will the Prime Minister define what he means by a 'truly seven-day NHS'?

David Cameron says he wants the UK to become the first country in the world to deliver a "truly seven-day NHS" but has so far failed to explain what this means. Many services are already available at weekends and in areas such as emergency medicine doctors have been the driving force behind delivering around the clock care.

Without saying what extra weekend services will be provided it is impossible to know what will be needed to fund, staff and resource them.

(Click to view the advertisement, as seen in the Independent on Sunday)

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