latest health care news

23.08.16

Outrage as DH’s ‘unrealistic’ seven-day NHS risk report leaked

The government’s flagship plans to make NHS services fully available at the weekend have been called unworkable after the government’s own papers revealed it is concerned about a range of risks.

Risk management documents, leaked to The Guardian and Channel 4 News, list 13 risks to the seven-day NHS plans, with ‘workforce overload’ rated as the biggest risk.

Other factors given the ‘red’ rating for the seriousness of the threat they pose include the UK’s exit from the European Union, a lack of robust plans to deliver the reforms and a risk of ‘scope creep’.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), said: “The BMA has been quite clear that patients should receive the same high standard of care seven days a week, but we have also repeatedly raised concerns over the past year about the lack of detail and absence of any plan on how the government intends to deliver this.

“To see in black and white that the government has not only ignored these concerns – and those of other leading healthcare organisations – but has also disregarded its own risk assessment’s warnings about the lack of staffing and funding needed to deliver further seven-day services, is both alarming and incredibly disappointing.”

The BMA junior doctors’ committee led a series of strikes in protest at plans to extend junior doctors’ working hours in order to deliver seven-day services, and more may be forthcoming after the organisation rejected the latest junior doctors’ contract.

In the papers, Department of Health officials also warn that the seven-day NHS may not “result in the desired change” of reducing weekend death rates even if it is successfully introduced.

They point out that there has still been no overall equality impact of the proposals, which is given an ‘amber’ safety warning because it could leave them open to criticism.

The junior doctors’ contract was criticised for discriminating against female doctors with children and disabled doctors.

Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, also criticised the proposals, telling Channel 4 News: “At the moment we are struggling to deliver care over five days, so to extend that to seven days and expect doctors to be able to provide high quality of care is not realistic.

“Doctors are working hard and they want to do the best they can for patients, but it is difficult to deliver the quality of care needed seven days a week without extra people to deliver it.”

Diane Abbott, the shadow health secretary, accused the government of “undermining the NHS with plans it knew to be unworkable”.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Over the past six years eight independent studies have set out the evidence for a ‘weekend effect’ – unacceptable variation in care across the week.

“This government is the first to tackle this, with a commitment to a safer, seven-day NHS for patients and £10bn to fund the NHS’s own plan for the future, alongside thousands of extra doctors and nurses on our wards.”

Recent research from the University of Manchester’s Centre for Health Economics suggested that death rates may actually be lower at weekends.

(Image c. Dominic Lipinski from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

 

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Providers are delivering – and here’s how

09/10/2019Providers are delivering – and here’s how

It has been a challenging few years for healthcare providers, yet they have continued to deliver high quality care despite the conditions. Adam Brimelow, director of comm... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >