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NHS Scotland '7-day a week service'

Published 10/06/2015

Sir Liam Donaldson has carried out a review of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland
Sir Liam Donaldson has carried out a review of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland

A healthcare chief in Scotland has warned routine operations would not be available around the clock but said NHS Scotland was a seven day a week service.

A senior government official in charge of staffing said she was not advocating a "Tesco-style" system where elective procedures took place every hour but added care for heart attack victims should be as good at a weekend as during the week.

She briefed members of the Northern Ireland Assembly's health committee at Stormont on workforce planning.

Shirley Rogers said: "We are not talking about a Tesco situation, not saying everything, every day, every hour, we are not talking about old ladies being taken in for hip replacements at 2 in the morning."

Ms Rogers, director of NHS workforce, outlined the Scottish government's vision for the workforce in 2020 as MLAs probed the Transforming Your Care programme overhauling the system in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist Joanne Dobson asked how the NHS in Scotland dealt with flex ible working and maternity leave.

Ms Rogers responded: "We have a high degree of part-time working, a high degree of school contract hours, we have term time working, we have a whole raft of provisions that allow for as much flexibility as we can."

She said future health care in Scotland should be "much more about community delivered services".

Sir Liam Donaldson, a former chief medical officer in England who championed the smoking ban, has reviewed how effectively the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and the health trusts have been performing.

The review was ordered by former health minister Edwin Poots after a major incident was declared at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast when a backlog in the emergency department signalled a crisis in the system.

Sir Liam, who made 10 recommendations, said communities should not fear change including the closure of smaller hospitals in favour of more specialised centres or technology hubs.

Although he did not identify attempts to cover-up problems, Sir Liam called for tighter regulation and for families and patients to have a greater say in the way the service operates.

The review found that implementation of the Transforming Your Care - a policy advocating more community-based care - was not being done quick enough.

It also recommended measures to reduce the demand on hospital beds.

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