Patients give views on 7-day services

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.


  1. Gareth says:

    Its time for the NHS to come into the modern world

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Gareth,
      Thank you for your comment. NHS England is committed to offering a much more patient-focussed service. Part of this commitment will be fulfilled by moving towards NHS services being made available seven days a week.
      We anticipate that some of the key benefits for patients will be enhanced access to services and greater convenience.
      Please follow our progress by accessing the NHS Services Seven Days a Week web page on the NHS England website –

  2. Jill Dyson says:

    Although suggesting that we require Doctor’s to be available
    7 days a week where do we draw the line between family doctor
    and locum whether that’s in your own surgery or a drop in centre to get the cover.
    If your information is going to be available on new computer system
    why do we have to burden our Doctors with their ever increasing workload.
    If a patient requires their own Doctor our surgery has early and late pre book times
    that works very well. Somewhere people have forgotten that Doctors have life
    outside work like the rest of us and I would prefer them too rather than have burnout
    and increasing any chances of mistakes after all we only see part of the work and
    hours that they carry out.

  3. shurleea harding says:

    How about hospital out-patients providing a 7 day service?

    Close A&E as we know it, to all but ambulance cases.
    Turn the unused out-pateint departments into drop in centres fro evening and weekend care. the buildings and all the facilities are there, the out-pateints depts stand idle outside of office hours, this would reduce the need for costly buildings in the community.

    I do not want my GP working 24/7, he needs his / her rest and time with his family like the rest of us.

    OPD’s are up and running, so make better use of the idle space and save the NHS a fortune.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Ms Harding,
      Many thanks for your comment – we are pleased to hear of any ideas for positive change to support the move towards equal access to care, seven days a week.
      As you may know, the NHS Services, Seven Days a Week Forum is preparing to deliver its findings in the autumn. Whilst the Forum’s report will consider different service delivery models, we believe there is much value in considering local solutions and would encourage you to raise this idea with your local CCG. Please follow this link to find contact details –
      We are holding an event in November and seek the involvement of patients, carers and the public. Should you wish to receive an invitation, please let us know.