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Cameron pledges to make NHS ‘seven-day’ service in five years


The prime minister has pledged to make the NHS a “truly” seven day a week service by 2020 if the Conservatives win the next election.

Speaking at his party’s spring forum, David Cameron said: “For years it’s been too hard to access the NHS out of hours.

“But illness doesn’t respect working hours. Heart attacks, major accidents, babies – these things don’t just come from nine to five,” he told delegates in Manchester.

Mr Cameron added: “And the truth is that you are actually more likely to die if you turn up at the hospital at the weekend.

“Some of the resources, like scanners, are not up and running. The key decision-makers aren’t always there,” he said, hinting at efforts to make more consultants work at weekends.

“With a future Conservative government, we would have a truly seven day NHS,” he stated during a wide-ranging speech to supporters ahead of the election on 7 May.

Mr Cameron acknowledged that millions of people were already able to see a GP seven days a week.

But he said: “By 2020 I want this for everyone with hospitals properly staffed, especially for urgent and emergency care, so that everyone will have access to the NHS services they need seven days a week by 2020 – the first country in the world to make this happen.”

“With a future Conservative government, we would have a truly seven day NHS”

David Cameron

Meanwhile, in a busy weekend for the Tories on health, Jeremy Hunt indicated a future Conservative government would meet NHS England’s £8bn spending requirement.

The figure was stated by national NHS leaders in the autumn as the increase required in annual spending on the service by 2020, if it can also make large efficiency savings.

In a Sunday Times interview, the health secretary: “At the last election we were the only party that promised to protect the NHS budget. We didn’t just protect it, we increased it.

“We said to [NHS England chief executive] Simon Stevens, ‘How much do you need for your plan next year, the first year of your five-year plan?’ He said ‘£1.7bn’, and we actually found him £2bn.

“We’re now doing the work as to what the efficiency savings are. The gap might be more than £8bn, it might be less,” said Mr Hunt.

“That will all be settled in the summer when we do the spending-round discussions. We will continue to spend more in real terms year in, year out,” he added.


Readers' comments (21)

  • If unsocial hours pay is scrapped he hasn't a chance

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  • With the current so called 'Cost Improvements Savings': CIPS which services have had to find annually since the year before last and to run for a full 5 years (amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds); we'll be luckly if we've got any NHS services running at all running by 2020.

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  • Not throwing away unopened medications returned to hospital pharmacies would save a fortune

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  • It's great 7 day NHS! but how they are going to achieve this as there are still pressing issues to sort out safe staffing levels! I agree with the last comment, but also think there has been far too much wasting going on in the NHS not just medication!

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  • The first anonymous comment is right. You can't expect staff to work unsocial hours without paying a decent premium. Nobody will want to enter the profession, and I suspect there will be a very high level of sickness absence if people are expected to give up their weekends for very little additional pay. How much extra are they planning to put into the NHS budget, because there will be a massive hike in staff costs if they want full staff cover 24/7. Management will no doubt be sitting pretty still working Mon - Fri 9-5ish, and paying themselves massive pay increases. Maybe some of the "efficiency savings" can be made by pruning the management structure. I'm not naive enough to think you can run a health service without professional managers, but the structure is top heavy, and some don't know what a hard day's work is.

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  • I retired from the NHS today and it feels great Wishing you all good luck.

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  • Anonymous | 31-Mar-2015 6:45 pm...I am so jealous..I cannot wait to get out

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  • five years? what do patients do in the meantime? what if Cameron is no longer there in five years or even next year on?

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  • Is this man dim or just plain stupid, 7 day working, no unsocial hours pay and its going to take 5 years. 5 years for a mass exidus. privatisation of the NHS. He comes out with the usual clap trap at the RCN conference, when will he believe we think he is telling the truth.

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  • Would that be the Simon Stevens who left the NHS in 2004 to spend 10 years learning from the Americans how to mould private healthcare? The Simon Stevens who was Vice President & chief lobbyist for United Health group? THAT Simon Stevens? The one who came back to the Uk in 2014 to share his 'wisdom' as Chief Executive officer of the NHS, the Simon Stevens who is currently running the show........

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