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Explain funding for seven-day service, BMA challenges government

16 February 2016

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The government need to reveal the funding for a seven-day NHS, the British Medical Association (BMA) urged, after a leaked report suggests the government admit they cannot prove increased access will mean reduced deaths.

This comes after an internal Department of Health draft report, leaked to the Guardian, says the department “cannot evidence the mechanism by which increased consultant presence and diagnostic tests at weekends will translate into lower mortality and reduced length of stay”.

The report also admits it will be “challenging” to meet the government’s promise to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020, which was a Conservative pledge during the election campaign.

Moreover, the leaked report from mid-January revealed that 11,000 new staff will be needed to run a seven-day service in hospitals.

In response, Mark Porter, BMA chair of council, argued: “If the government is to continue with its plans for extra seven-day services, it owes it to patients to convincingly explain how it will finance and staff it.”

In the report, titled Seven-day NHS – update on progress and plans, the department also warns that community and social services could not cope with more discharges at weekends.

“The BMA has repeatedly called on the government to outline its plans for seven-day services including how it will fund and staff them,” Porter said.