Hospital Dr News

Union seeks debate with health secretary and colleges over seven day services

The BMA has invited the health secretary to take part in a symposium on introducing seven-day services in November.

Jeremy Hunt has been invited to the debate, along with medical royal colleges, patient organisations and other professional associations.

BMA junior doctor committee chair Ellen McCourt said: “For many people, the junior doctor dispute has highlighted the need for an open and honest debate about how the NHS can deliver high-quality care across the week in the face of rising demand, funding pressure and staffing shortages.

“Today, we are calling on the health secretary, together with leading voices from across the NHS, the medical profession and patient groups, to address the issues at the heart of this debate and the aspects of patient care which the Government and doctors want to improve.”

The royal colleges have been receptive to the idea. RCP President, Professor Jane Dacre, said: “We would welcome the opportunity to join a symposium to discuss the issues and barriers we face in achieving this aim and offer potential solutions.”

In a letter to Mr Hunt, McCourt and BMA council chair Mark Porter say: “Many of the arguments have become polarised and so have not helped to engage the public and patients in the fundamental questions about the nature and scope of the care which we all expect from the health service now and into the future.”

They also urge Mr Hunt to work with the organisations “critical to agreeing and delivering the necessary solutions to the urgent issues and choices facing the country”.

The suggestion comes after the JDC’s climb down over three planned strikes in October, November and December.

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