A seven-day NHS has been deemed impossible with current funding and staffing levels.
The Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, told Andrew Marr that a seven-day NHS wouldn’t be possible and that there should be a debate based around which services to sacrifice.
Hopson believes that people are ignoring the current funding gap and that it should be spoken about. As opposed to pushing for a seven-day NHS that they may not be able to provide. Figures show waiting times and delayed hospital discharges at record levels. The government says it is giving NHS England the £10bn it asked for.
Uneven service provision
However, introducing a seven-day NHS was a part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto. It is based on data suggesting that patients are 16% more likely to die if they are admitted on a Sunday compared with a Wednesday. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a seven-day NHS since 2015. His department concludes that there was a “clear link between poorer outcomes for patients and uneven service provision at the weekend”.
Due to the lack of funding, NHS Providers claim that measures will have to be taken. This could include having to cut staff. As well as bringing in charges or introducing “draconian rationing” of treatment, for example, of non-urgent operations.
Mr Hopson said the NHS was under the “greatest pressure that we’ve been for a generation”.
He also goes on to say:
“Jeremy Hunt and others have made a very strong case for seven-day services, but it seems to us it’s impossible on the current level of staff and the current money we have available.”
Hopson also stated the numbers of hospitals in deficit, and the missed waiting times for A&E, highlighted there was “clearly a system-level problem – it’s not a problem of poor management”. Workers at the forefront in the NHS were claiming that they “cannot provide the right quality of care, and meet the performance standards, on the money that’s available”.
To conclude, Hopson believes that seven-day NHS idea should be abandoned. He also said more money should be put into the NHS through general taxation. What are your thoughts?