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Learning exchange is crucial to 7-days services project – Ann Driver

Dr Ann Driver, Head of Programmes Acute Care, NHS Improving Quality, explains why public engagement is so important to the 7-Days Services Forum:

THE Learning Exchange Event we are staging in London today marks another major step forward as NHS England’s 7-Day Services Forum continues to gather evidence.

We are bringing together a large number of patients and NHS organisations to share their learning and experience of seven day services in the NHS.

The aim of the day is to engage with patients, and various provider organisations, so we can truly understand the hurdles and challenges faced in trying to make 7-Day Services a reality right across the NHS. It will also give us the chance to fully explore the opportunities to be had from successfully meeting those challenges.

We will have between 30 and 40 patient organisations at the Learning Exchange – allowing members of the NHS England and NHS Improving Quality teams to hear first-hand the benefits delivering 7-Day Services can and should make to patients, carers and the public.

Only through engaging and listening to patients and service providers can we hope to deliver the sort of 7-Day Services that people want and need.

Those invited to the event include representatives from Nottingham University Hospitals, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

These Trusts currently operate 7-Day Services and will be able to share details and experiences of the hurdles they faced, how they overcame them and how 7-Day Services have been developed successfully.

The delivery of 7-Day Services across the country currently can be described as “variable”.  We know that some clinical services are responding to the demand for seven days a week delivery, while others are still considering how they face this challenging problem.

It is not a case of “one size fits all” – and it is here the 7-Day Services Forum is gathering evidence on how best to roll out successful 7-Day Services around the country.

NHS England’s medical director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, has made clear his determination and overall ambition of moving the NHS towards services being made available seven days a week.

Through the work of the Forum that Sir Bruce established earlier this year, the first steps towards achieving that vision and ambition have been taken. But it is just the beginning. And events such as today’s Learning Exchange are the first of many where we engage with patients and key stakeholders that will feed into the strategy to make 7-Day Services a working reality.

Over the next 3-5 years, NHS England and NHS Improving Quality (NHSIQ), working in partnership as part of its core business, will take a collaborative and national co-ordinating role bringing together a strong representation of key stakeholders, patients, partners and forward thinking organisations, to work together as part of a new transformational 7-Day Services improvement programme.

The collaborative approach will support the acceleration of learning to enable whole system change at scale and pace across England.

The learning from today’s event will be not only be fed back to the 7-Day services Forum but it will also contribute to the design of a three to five-year transformational improvement programme aimed at spreading delivery of routine services seven days a week across the NHS at scale and pace.

As part of the transformational programme an invitation will be published in the coming weeks inviting expressions of interest to become an ‘Early Adopter’ as a means of driving this forward.

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