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BMA challenges Cameron on seven-day working

Doctors demand details of PM's seven-day NHS

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 01 September 2015

The BMA has launched a national newspaper campaign asking a series of questions calling on David Cameron to set out the detail of his plans for more seven-day NHS services.

Since announcing his plans in the Spring to introduce what he described as the world’s first ‘truly seven-day NHS’, the BMA says the prime minister has so far failed to give any detail or outline how he plans to fund or deliver on his ambition.

Instead, the BMA says "doctors have had their professionalism and dedication to patients repeatedly called into question" at a time when NHS staff, as highlighted by the recent social media campaign, are already providing a first-class service, every day of the week.

The BMA says it supports more seven-day hospital services and that patients should receive the same high standard of care across the week. However it says doctors have legitimate concerns over how the government expects the NHS to fund and staff it, and what impact it could have on mid-week services.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “The BMA has been quite clear that it supports more seven-day hospital services and that patients should receive the same high standard of care across the week, but we have also raised repeated concerns about the lack of detail and the apparent absence of any plan as to how the government intends to deliver this. 

“David Cameron promised a ‘truly seven-day NHS’ before and after the general election, even going as far as to use the word ‘plan’ 18 times in one speech, but has so far signally failed produce one. There has been no detail to define what he means, how the NHS can fund and staff it, and its impact on weekday services.

“Instead, showing more regard for headline-grabbing soundbites than plans, the government has gone out of its way to deliberately misrepresent the excellent care NHS staff already provide every day of the week.

“So far the government has refused to say what it defines as seven-day services – despite publically admitting there is a ‘general public interest in making this information available for the sake of greater transparency and openness’. This is why we have taken the extraordinary step of publishing our questions.

“The lack of detail or any outline plan for a seven-day health service shows a complete disregard for people already concerned at the mounting pressures on the NHS. At the very least, we all deserve answers to the legitimate questions which the BMA is asking this week.”

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