Seven-day consultant working week is already taking place at Queen Alexandra Hospital

QA Hospital has said it is ready for seven-day working
QA Hospital has said it is ready for seven-day working
Janine Andrade,  Siobhan Edwards-Bannon and Zoe Boxhall with the pupils learning about the human skeleton .
Picture : Habibur Rahman (171637-3)

Portsmouth pupils given tour of minor injury unit

  • QA said it is providing seven-day coverage in all aspects of emergency medical care
  • Health secretary Jeremy Hunt could force new consultants to work weekends
  • Natioanlly 6,000 avoidable deaths happen as people are admitted on a Sunday
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THE trust that runs Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth says it is committed to providing seven-day consultant services.

It comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would impose the rule in order to reduce the number of hospital deaths at the weekend.

The trust has scoped the impact of delivering all of our specialty services over the weekend and will continue to plan to deliver this in line with the standards developed by NHS England

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman

But Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA said some specialisms already met this target.

A spokesman said: ‘Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust runs an extensive seven-day service at QA.

‘This includes all aspects of emergency medical care, with consultants available at all times. This includes diagnostic and imaging services.

‘In addition, we operate a number of elective theatre lists over the weekend.

‘The trust has scoped the impact of delivering all of our specialty services over the weekend and will continue to plan to deliver this in line with the standards developed by NHS England.’

The consultant contract means senior doctors can opt out of weekend work as long as it is non-emergency, but are still expected to be on call.

Mr Hunt promised he was prepared to enforce changes if necessary by imposing a new contract on newly-appointed consultants to push a seven-day week in the NHS.

By doing this, he believes in five years’ time there will be enough senior doctors in place to drive up standards at weekends.

Mr Hunt said: ‘The problem dates back to 2003 when the then government gave consultants the right to opt out of working at weekends.

‘That’s a right that nurses don’t have, midwives don’t have, paramedics, ambulance drivers don’t have.

‘That has created a Monday-to-Friday culture in many parts of the NHS with tragic consequences for patients.

‘If you want the evidence it’s very straightforward.

‘We have around 6,000 avoidable deaths every year because if you are admitted on a Sunday you have a higher chance of dying than if you are admitted on a Wednesday.’