28 Mar 2015

David Cameron pledges NHS available 24/7

David Cameron promises the health service will offer consultants seven days a week in England by 2020 if the Conservatives win a second term.

David Cameron pledged at his party’s spring conference that a second-term Conservative government would ensure patients across England would have full access to hospital services seven days a week by the end of the parliament in 2020.

You are actually more likely to die if you turn up at the hospital at the weekend. David Cameron

“For years it’s been too hard to access the NHS out of hours,” he said. “But illness doesn’t respect working hours.”

“Heart attacks, major accidents, babies – these things don’t just come from nine to five.”

“The truth is that you are actually more likely to die if you turn up at the hospital at the weekend. Some of the resources are not up and running. The key decision-makers aren’t always there.

“With a future Conservative government, we would have a truly seven-day NHS.”

But his pledge came under attack from doctors’ leaders who accused the prime minister of “shameless political game playing”.

‘No costed plan’

Dr Mark Porter, who chairs the British Medical Association council, said the Conservatives had not even committed the funds needed to maintain existing services.

“With existing services stretched to breaking point, a majority of hospitals facing crippling budget deficits and frontline staff under extreme pressure, the NHS needs far more than just words to deliver extra care,” he said.

“Without a detailed, fully-costed plan to provide the staff and resources needed to deliver more seven-day services, this is at best an empty pledge and at worst shameless political game playing with the NHS ahead of the election.”

Labour’s campaign vice chair Lucy Powell accused the Conservatives of misleading voters, saying their spending plans would mean “extreme” cuts to the NHS.

“On the NHS, David Cameron misled people in 2010 and he’s misleading them again today,” she said.

“When he pledges seven-day-a-week care in the NHS, people will remember that he did exactly the same before the last election, only to break his word.

“After five years of the Tories it’s harder to see your GP and A&Es are in crisis.”