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As NHS England South prepares to hold a series of events on 7-Day Services, Regional medical Director Nigel Acheson looks at the challenges facing the health and social care community:
“Eight days a week is not enough to show I care” – little did the Beatles know their iconic hit over 50 years ago would open-up the conversation on how to revolutionise the health professionals’ approach to providing the highest quality of care for patients, albeit for just the 7 days.
And they were right. There seem not enough days in the week for the health and social care community to do everything we want; making the best of the 7 days available is crucial for patient care.
The starting point for me is Simon Stevens view on 7 day services, which makes clear that we need to stop treating people as a collection of health problems and regard patient choices as the means by which services are shaped.
An example of this principle is one of the key findings from the Keogh Review. Mortality rates were higher for emergency patients, particularly at night and at weekends and for patients in general medicine, critical care and geriatric medicine. The underlying issues are complex and require a “whole system” approach to address them.
The compelling case for change to provide the highest quality of care for patients every day of the week has been made – it cannot be right for the quality of patient care to be dictated by the day of their admission to hospital.
The key questions are:
- How can we meet the challenge of providing high quality care, seven days a week?
- What will it mean for our local health community?
- What support is available to help us improve access to appropriate seven day services for our local population?
During March, NHS England South and NHS Improving Quality is holding four sub-regional engagement events with representatives invited from across the NHS, local councils and pharmacies to begin answering these questions.
Health professionals will tell us how they can be supported and listen to others about their preparation for this ambitious change.
The conversation also takes place in blog posts – starting with this one – where comments are encouraged about what you see as the challenges, solutions and best practice. Think you can fit your comment into 140 characters? We’ll be watching Twitter for ideas using #7dayservices
It’s now over to you.
I’m looking forward to engaging with as many people as possible on the challenges ahead for 7-day Services, whether at the events, in response to my blog posts, or via Twitter. So ending as I started, with the title of another famous Beatles track, “We Can Work It Out.”
- Do you need service support to adapt to the challenges of 7 day services? Contact NHS Improving Quality in the South of England at firstname.lastname@example.org