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A seven day NHS  

ed parker | bbc wake up to money | 2 December 2015

PA Consulting Group’s Ed Parker, a healthcare expert, is interviewed on Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money programme about the government’s plans to put seven day working in place in the NHS. Ed was asked the following questions.

Can the nation continue to afford the NHS and to grow it?
EP: “The problems the NHS has are good problems. People are living longer, there are new treatments available and we have a growing population. But responding to that is going to cost money and we have a situation where demand is going to rise faster than funding is available to meet that demand.”

Do you think we are anywhere near a resolution of the junior doctors’ strike?
EP:  “The challenge is that while it is indisputable that outcomes are worse for patients admitted at the weekend, where there is much more debate is about the root causes of why that is. By definition the cohort of patients admitted at the weekend are more unwell than those admitted during the week; you are only admitted on the weekend if your situation is urgent.”

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How much of a cost would it be for the NHS to have a standardised seven day service?
EP: “That’s the several billion dollar question.  The doctors and dentists review could not find anywhere in the world that is running a genuine seven day service. Having a genuine seven day service would mean running planned operations at the weekend and that is a really big ask of doctors and nurses and support staff who are already working long hours. It would mean all these people would have to work shift systems much more akin to those in supermarkets rather than other professions like accountancy.”

 

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