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Feasibility of seven day NHS to be examined

NHS Commissioning Board set to announce establishment of group to examine practicalities

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 17 December 2012

The NHS Commissioning Board will announce tomorrow the establishment of a group to examine the barriers to providing routine NHS services - like day surgery – at weekends in England, the BBC has reported.

The group will include patient representatives, health providers and people from outside the health service.

The move is expected to be included as part of the NHS Commissioning Board’s first planning guidance.

Research suggests that patients are more likely to die in hospital if they are admitted at the weekend. The research carried out at University College London and the universities of Birmingham and East Anglia, was published earlier this year and showed that patients in England were 16% more likely to die if they were admitted on a Sunday, rather than mid-week.

Staffing - and in particular the presence, or absence, of senior doctors - has been highlighted as a key factor.

Some hospitals already carry out non-urgent operations and procedures at weekend. For example, in Birmingham and Torbay, hospitals have had scanners open to provide tests and conduct some operations. They also have more senior staff and consultants around at weekends.

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