POWERFUL patient feedback has been given to NHS England’s 7-Day Service programme team.
More than 30 patients’ organisations were represented at an all-day Learning Exchange event organised to allow members of the NHS England and NHS Improving Quality teams to hear first-hand the benefits 7-Day Services offer for patients, carers and the public.
Also at the event were various provider organisations who shared their learning and experience of providing services across the entire week.
The evidence gathered from the event will now be fed back to the NHS Services, Seven Days a Week Forum, Chaired by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, and used as part of the Forum’s report due out in the autumn.
Neil Betteridge, Patient and Public Adviser on the Enhanced Recovery Partnership, who chaired the event at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London, said: “We are working towards some long-term solutions for seven days care. The changing expectations of patients make it all the more sensible to involve patients in all the important conversations, like this one today.”
He added: “Sir Bruce Keogh and his team are looking at what is deliverable and how they can produce better outcomes for patients. Today is a critical opportunity to help inform what comes next.”
Simon Bennett, Deputy Director of NHS England’s Quality Framework Team explained: “This is an opportunity for you to share your experiences and for us to listen, learn and reflect these experiences in the 7-Day Service work we are doing.”
Dr Janet Williamson, NHSIQ’s Director of Improvement Programmes, said: “There are some fantastic pockets of success and innovation at Trusts that have moved from the traditional five day service model to seven days.
“We need to make sure we move the luck and chance out of the system and move to 7-Day Services around the country.”
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has made a whole system change to providing 7-Day Services.
The Trust’s Medical Director, David Evans, said: “We made this decision on a patient safety basis. It was simply the right thing to do. It was blindingly obvious.”
He explained the Trust was compressing its diagnostic services for patients from 72 hours to just seven hours, adding: “We were shutting down on a Friday and cranking up on a Monday morning. How can that be right?
“Whole system change can be good. Don’t be afraid of it.”
Dr John Lowes, Medical Director of the South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, explained that Torbay Hospital is still working towards across-the-week services despite having introduced 7-Day innovations in its radiology services as long ago as 2000.
“We need to continue to transform our services,” he said.
The audience took part in two group sessions to share their learning on 7-Day service provision.
Among the issues they raised were:
- Are GPs a barrier to 7-Day Services and is there an absence of social and community care across the week?
- How is the risk around organisations going to be managed so we don’t get a fragmentation of 7-Day Services?
- What are 7-Day Services – is it about acute care or elective treatment, and who is going to pay for all this?
- How are we going to measure 7-Day Services to know they are making a difference?
The patients groups also told the NHS England team they felt 10-years was too long to get 7-Day Services up and running and would prefer to see a phased approach, and Trusts should have something introduced within six months.
They also called for more frank and open conversations, like the one at this event, so they knew more about what was going on.