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NHS England boss pledges to make 7-day services a priority

Speaking at an NHS Improving Quality event in London on 22nd July, “Delivering Services, Seven Days A Week”, NHS England’s National Clinical Director Sir Bruce Keogh 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 and delegates were given an insight into their work.