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Thursday 27th October 2016

NHS weekend services to be considered

17th December 2012

The NHS Commissioning Board is to announce on Tuesday that a group will be formed to look at why the health service is not operating routine procedures over the weekend.


The Board will publish its planning guidance tomorrow and the idea of operating seven days a week has the "full support" of the government.

The move comes after research showed patients had an increased danger of dying if they were admitted to hospital over the weekend. 

Researchers at University College London and the universities of Birmingham and East Anglia found that patients in England had 16% more likelihood of dying if they were admitted to hospital on Sunday, instead of the middle of the week.

Lord Howe, the health minister, said patients required the services of the health service "every day".

"Offering easier access to hospital consultants, GPs and routine hospital services seven days a week will reduce delays and ensure that patients get seen and treated by experienced healthcare professionals."

Sir Bruce Keogh, the Board's medical director, said the group would investigate "the barriers that stop us heading in the direction of a seven-day service."

He explained: "I am just trying to build a practical, moral and compassionate case on behalf of patients."

Sir Bruce added: "It is time for the NHS to offer more routine services at the weekend, in addition to emergency services. This will be a big cultural change, but our focus should be on convenience and compassion for those seeking our help."

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