The new planning guidance for the NHS has been published by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) who have the responsibility to oversee the spending of England's £95.6bn NHS budget from April 2013.
Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013/14, outlines the incentives and levers to be used to improve services from April 2013. The guidance covers a set of outcomes against which improvements will be measured, and outlines five offers:
1. move toward seven-day a week working for routine NHS services
2. greater transparency and choice for patients
3. more patient participation
4. better data to support the drive to improve services
5. higher standards and safer care.
Commenting on the proposals to consider increasing some services to seven days a week, director of the NHS Employers organisation Dean Royles, said:
“The way patients are cared for and the way they want to be cared for is changing rapidly.
“We know that services provided at weekends could be so much better and we owe it to patients to change the way we work.
“NHS Employers welcomes the move to look at providing a seven-day service. We want to ensure we have contracts of employment and a reward system that are better aligned to delivering services through the week. Everyone agrees that there are opportunities to improve the way we provide healthcare, so that it works better for patients, staff and the NHS.”
Read Dean Royles' latest communication which includes a breakdown on the key areas of the guidance, including the recommendation that the NHS provides services seven days a week.