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Analysis

Ahead of the curve but aiming higher

Creating a seven-day NHS has emerged as one of the key health issues since the general election. And now that the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, has agreed to discuss how the consultant contract could be altered – it allows consultants to opt out of non-emergency care at weekends – change seems likely

Creating a seven-day NHS has emerged as one of the key health issues since the general election. And now that the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, has agreed to discuss how the consultant contract could be altered – it allows consultants to opt out of non-emergency care at weekends – change seems likely.

But what does this mean for children’s services? There has been little detail so far from ministers, although NHS England wrote to hospital trusts in the summer asking them to concentrate on access to consultants, diagnostics and complex interventions such as urgent radiotherapy.

If that is the goal children’s care, it seems, is already ahead of the curve. An audit by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in 2013 found nearly three quarters of patients admitted to a paediatric department at the weekend with an acute medical problem were seen by

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