Sir Bruce makes 7-day services his top target

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.

  • The event was trending on Twitter today – to see what people are saying, check out: #7dayservices


  1. Esther Turner says:

    I see both sides of this argument and have experienced both sides of the system (weekday service vs 7 day service). I completely agree that weekend services are pretty poor, people wait significant periods for results and scans, medical reviews and treatment. Therapists are already primed for working weekends but all the services that are required for this to be effective are simply not there (radiology, Doctors!! surgeons etc). Many healthcare workers already provide a 7 day service (nurses, A&E services) and by not having the other services to support this it creates delays further down the line (Social Services). The domino effect is massive.

    As a therapist I feel that rehabilitation may well improve the patient experience at the weekend, however, in a service that is already over stretched providing a monday to friday service it will always come down to cost. In my previous role I worked in a service where staffing was actually cut rather than increased to cover a service across two sights moving to 7 day service and I have seen how imaginative timetabling and creative staff management is required to make this work. It barely covers for issues like sickness and annual leave absence. It requires a manager that is experienced and confident to lead the increased demands. Staff will always be anxious and concerned about the extra demands and expectations on them.

    Personally, I feel that there is an eternal expectation (on all NHS staff) to go the extra mile, to perform even better than previously able and still remain upbeat, positive, focused and responsive. The reality is often far from this. People are increasingly pushed to the point of exhaustion with the potential for long-term repercussions. I myself am about to return to work following 5 month period of sick leave after 5 years of burn out and physical decline. I have required two lots of surgery and will need modification of my working practice to prevent further physical impact. I am not a shirker, I am a hard worker who struggles to say No to the ever increasing demands.

    Expecting more from services who already are struggling to cope seems, at first, narrow-minded and ignorant. However the synic in me feels, with an election looming next year and political reputations on the line that grinding services into the ground only makes privatisation all the more appealing to commissioners. After all, if the services are so bad, bringing in ‘fresh blood’ can only be good, right?!!

    I feel there may already be an agenda in progress, but that is another subject for another day.

  2. Harvey Chapman says:

    What happens to those who need immediate help but cannot sit in a Hospital corridor for seven days?
    What happens to those who are living day to day survival?
    What happens to those who have paid TAX and NI for all of their working lives?

    If none of these issues are achieved then why pay TAX and NI?
    Seems to be a failure on behalf of the so called government and an accuse to pay yourselves.

    People are not stupid, after all they put you where you are now.
    Without positive action how long do you think you are going to remain in power?


  3. Trevor Drage says:

    That’s great news for patients, is there a budget to support this? Or will we see services being cut to support this flagship

  4. ktc says:

    How is this to be funded within the NHS dental services ?
    Is each practice expected to operate 24/7 ?
    How is this to be funded within the UDA system or even the new preventative pathway ?
    will this be another `out of hours `debacle where costs esculate and we introduce expensive after hours service at the risk og damaging existing dental practices?

  5. Pearl Baker says:

    7 day service cannot possible be achieved for those suffering from a mental illness. Why? because we do not have an ‘Integrated’ system of health and social care.

    DOLS and ‘Property and Affairs’ COP patients are being placed into accommodation providing care and support that is currently not offering care and support 24 hours a day. Ie evenings and weekends. They are placed into the ‘gap’ identified by me and the DOH yet nothing is being done to improve this situation.

    It is not achievable at this time!

    The MONITOR has a duty to monitor health and social care ‘integrated’ system of health and social care, but has no means of collecting data.

    I would like to demonstrate the system as it stands…

    If you suffer from a Mental Illness and has a CPN as your care Manager Co-Ordinator, you would altermatically come under the Monitor through the Licensing System via Healt Trusts, however if you come under a LA Care Manager Co-Ordinator it is unclear who is monitoring this, Why! the CQC only inspect registered, and NOT LA CQF care and support services, however we now come to the final identified ‘GAP’ .

    How can the MONITOR carry out his duties to improve an ‘integrated health and social’ care’ system monitoring both Health and Social Care, withou any means of collecting data from the patient or general public.

    I have proved my case.

    • Anonymous says:

      What about patients with engaged care co-ordinators from both health and social care but are still being failed by Health.

      A family member of mine has had the same care plan for over 10 years; not even their weight has been updated! It’s not all about integration – maybe it should start with ensuring the ‘PATIENT’ is the priority and receives the right care plan for the right time of their life and illness – though I might add they do receive regular care plan reviews nothing is ever updated. Without medication and support from health how does a mentally ill patient know how to engage with the social aspect of their lives. Sadly this person is now borderline alcoholic; a heavy (chain) smoker; a recluse; will only walk in one direction out of their front door and; mostly only in the dark.

      7 day services are a positive move.