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NHS to be fined for weekend standards

It has been revealed that hospitals in England will be fined millions of pounds unless the services provided at weekends are of the same standard of weekdays.

NHS England aim to cut the increased number of deaths on Saturdays and Sundays. Research suggests death rates are 16% higher for patients with emergency conditions admitted on Sundays, compared with those admitted on Wednesdays.

The new information claims that trusts will be penalised 2.5% of their annual income if they fail to ensure senior doctors and diagnostic tests are available seven days a week.

Other measures in the three-year plan include emergency patients are to be guaranteed to see a consultant within 14 hours of admission and patients in intensive care and other high dependency units need to be reviewed by consultants twice a day.

“It seems strange in many ways that we should start to wind down on a Friday afternoon and warm up on a Sunday while operating theatres are empty, outpatient clinics echo, expensive diagnostic kit isn’t being used and in the meantime people are waiting for diagnosis and treatment,” says medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.