Sir Bruce Keogh says the provision of 7-day services across the NHS is his “number one priority” Speaking at an NHS Improving Quality event in London, “Delivering Services, Seven Days A Week”, NHS England’s national clinical director told delegates: “We all know in our heart of hearts the service we offer at weekends isn’t as good, and we have to tackle that and do the right thing. “How quickly you have your scan and your tests, or start your treatment, shouldn’t depend on how sick you are or when you turn up. “Speaking personally, the provision of services at weekends remains my number one priority.”
Sir Bruce also addressed those who still oppose the idea of 7-Day Services, saying: “We have got to stop talking about ‘seven day working’, where the emphasis is on the people delivering the service. We have to talk about ‘seven day services’ and focus on the people receiving the services. “This is about how and not about why,” he added. “The two how questions are: how much is this going to cost? And how are we going to do it? The answers are beginning to emerge.”
Sir Bruce said different answers would emerge in rural and metropolitan areas and said there was ambition and pride for the NHS and its workforce, as well as for patients, in “doing the right thing”. “The movement has started. There is talk among patients, the public, the media and the health industry. We want to move the NHS in the right direction. “We know in the work we have done already that we are able to find the solutions for providing services at weekends. This is the most exciting challenge we have faced in the last decade, and if we get it right it will make us a world leader.” Representatives of the 13 Early Adopter communities set up as part of the 7-Day Service Improvement Programme shared how they are improving access to high quality services on every day of the week. Delegates were given an insight into their work and able to share and learn from improvements that have been effective in organisations.
Gavin Boyle, chief executive of Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is among the 13 Early Adopter Communities for the 7-Day Services programme, said: “We’re at the start of a journey and it’s a huge challenge for us to provide consistent care for our patients across the week.
“If you have worked in the health service for any length of time you will know there is a difference at weekends, and this is a chance for us to put it right. Seven day services matters – it’s the right thing to do.”
Dr Ann Driver, NHS IQ’s head of programmes for seven day services and acute care, thanked the early adopter communities for “putting their heads above the parapet”, adding:
“ We are getting more and more people asking how they can get involved. NHSIQ’s role is to support you. But there is not one solution that will support everybody. We need to build new models, innovations and solutions to make the change to seven day services happen at scale and pace. We want to target the top innovations that put seven day services ahead of the game.” Other speakers at the event included Andy Evans, chief executive of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, who called on colleagues to “be bold” over seven day services.