Seven day services in the NHS

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Ensuring patients admitted as an emergency, receive high quality consistent care, whatever day they enter hospital.

What does it mean to provide seven day services?

The seven day services programme is designed to ensure patients that are admitted as an emergency, receive high quality consistent care, whatever day they enter hospital. 

Patients across England will see a revolution in hospital care with the introduction of seven day consultant-led services that are delivered consistently over the coming years.

This film outlines the four priority clinical standards across urgent and emergency care and reflects the views of staff across trusts who already meet the standards every day of the week.

In this film, hospital staff, from pharmacists to consultants, discuss the role of seven day hospital services on them, their patients and the trust.

The 10 clinical standards

Ten clinical standards for seven day services in hospitals were developed in 2013 through the Seven Day Services Forum, chaired by Sir Bruce Keogh and involving a range of clinicians and patients. The standards were founded on published evidence and on the position of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) on consultant-delivered acute care. These standards define what seven day services should achieve, no matter when or where patients are admitted.

The four priority standards

With the support of the AoMRC, four of the 10 clinical standards were identified as priorities on the basis of their potential to positively affect patient outcomes. These are:

  • Standard 2 – Time to first consultant review
  • Standard 5 – Access to diagnostic tests
  • Standard 6 – Access to consultant-directed interventions
  • Standard 8 – Ongoing review by consultant twice daily if high dependency patients, daily for others

What do seven day services mean for patients?

27 trusts across England were early adopters of the four priority clinical standards and are working towards implementing the standards by April 2017. 

We're also supporting all trusts to meet the four standards identified as being 'must do' by 2020. This will ensure patients:

  • don't wait longer than 14 hours to initial consultant review
  • get access to diagnostic tests with a 24-hour turnaround time - for urgent requests, this drops to 12 hours and for critical patients, one hour
  • get access to specialist, consultant-directed interventions
  • with high-dependency care needs receive twice-daily specialist consultant review, and those patients admitted to hospital in an emergency will experience daily consultant-directed ward rounds

Dr Patrick Cadigan, cardiologist, explains the 'weekend effect' and why the NHS should offer consistent seven day services.

Patients and carers discuss how the absence of hospital services at the weekend have negatively impacted on their care.

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