Doctors are urged to support a high-profile challenge by the BMA for the prime minister to reveal his plan for seven-day services.
In a series of national newspaper adverts, the association asks David Cameron seven questions over seven days about his plans for a seven-day NHS.
Around 5,000 doctors and patients have already added their names — and many are showing their support on Twitter — to an open letter to Mr Cameron asking him to ‘show us your plan’.
The first newspaper advert (pictured below) asks the prime minister to define what he means by a ‘truly seven-day NHS’ following his failure to give any details on the plan or say how it will be funded.
BMA council chair Mark Porter said the association, which supports more seven-day NHS services and high-quality care all week, was taking the ‘extraordinary step’ of publishing its questions because of a continued lack of information from the Government.
‘[Mr Cameron] promised a "truly seven-day NHS" before and after the general election, even going as far as to use the word ‘plan’ 18 times in one speech, but has so far signally failed produce one.
'There has been no detail to define what he means, how the NHS can fund and staff it, and its impact on weekday services,’ he said.
Dr Porter added that, instead of revealing its plan, the Government had gone out of its way to ‘deliberately misrepresent the excellent care NHS staff already provide every day of the week’ via a series of ‘headline-grabbing soundbites’.
Yet a recent social media campaign had shown the thousands of doctors who regularly work weekends, and the BMA’s own figures show:
- Nine in 10 consultants work evenings and weekends for the NHS
- More than 60 per cent of GPs regularly work outside of their normal hours
- Junior doctors continue to work around the clock, with examples of some working days on end or 90-hour weeks.
Dr Porter added that the Government had been forced to row back on its pre-election pledge to recruit 5,000 additional GPs to allow all practices to open seven days a week after it had proved to be ‘mere rhethoric and completely undeliverable on the ground’.
‘The lack of detail or any outline plan for a seven-day health service shows a complete disregard for people already concerned at the mounting pressures on the NHS. At the very least, we all deserve answers to the legitimate questions which the BMA is asking this week,’ Dr Porter said.
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