The RCN supports the vision of a health and care system where people have access to high quality care when and where they need it, no matter the time of day or day of week. Variation in patient care and outcomes is unacceptable and must be addressed. We believe that where people have clinically urgent health care needs, at whatever time, high quality care should be available where they need it most, whether this is in hospital or in the community.
In England, NHS Improvement recently wrote to all medical directors in Trusts setting out their expectations on implementing seven day services based on 10 clinical standards devised by Sir Bruce Keogh and supported by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, with RCN support. Four of these standards have been prioritised as crucial for all hospitals by 2020, with a phased approach.
The four priority standards refer to hospital care, although these priorities are not limited to acute services, and that community and mental health services will need to think about how they support their patients and service users at weekends as well as during the week.