The Prime Minister, David Cameron, will use his first major speech since the election to set out his vision for a modern NHS that will work for patients 7 days a week.
The government will prioritise patient access to all services – from GP access to hospital care – backing NHS England’s plan for modernising the NHS.
Investment into the NHS will increase by £8 billion a year by the end of the Parliament to support the transformation of services across the country, including an increase in the number of GPs, faster access to new drugs and treatments and a greater focus on mental health and healthy living.
Speaking at a GP centre that offers patients late night and weekend appointments, the Prime Minister will say:
There is nothing that embodies the spirit of one nation coming together – nothing that working people depend on more – than the NHS. Our commitment is to free healthcare for everyone – wherever you are and whenever you need it.
That means getting the best care and making that care available for everyone – free – wherever they are and whenever they need it.
So I believe that together – by sticking to the plan – we can become the first country in the world to deliver a truly 7-day NHS.
And we must do so to protect and preserve the values of the NHS that are so central to our national identity.
To keep our people healthy, to look after them when they fall ill, to care for the elderly with dignity and to ensure that free healthcare is always there whenever people need it most.
By sticking to the plan we can and will achieve this together.
A 7-day NHS, safe in our hands – for every generation to come.
The Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund is already bringing extended hours opening across the country. By the end of this year 18 million patients will have access to a GP at evenings and weekends.
That access will be expanded further and action taken to deliver more 7-day access in hospitals too.
The Prime Minister will say it is a “shocking fact” that mortality rates for patients admitted to hospital on a Sunday are as much as 16 per cent higher than on a Wednesday, while the biggest numbers of seriously ill patients arrive at the weekend when hospitals are least well equipped to handle them.
The shift to 7-day a week opening will help to deliver a safer NHS and more lives saved. The Prime Minister will be clear that this is not about staff working longer hours but a more flexible approach to work patterns that will see doctors and nurses available when they are needed most.