Calls to reorganise health services to create a round-the-clock “Tesco-style NHS” are “just ridiculous”, the leader of the British Medical Association has said.
NHS England has called for more care services – including GP and hospital appointments – to be available in the evening and at weekends, and has prioritised so-called 24/7 care in its review of urgent and emergency care services.
But Dr Mark Porter, the chairman of the BMA Council, told delegates at the union’s annual conference that the idea was fanciful when the health service could “barely afford” its current model.
“Like many doctors here, I feel personally offended by the terms in which this debate has been couched,” he said.
“Like many of you I work nights and weekends as well, at times when much of the private sector is fast asleep and ministers are tucked up soundly in their beds. We all want urgent care at weekends and evenings to be of the same high standards as patients can expect on weekdays. But the calls we sometimes hear for a Tesco NHS, full service, 24/7, are just ridiculous when the health service can barely afford its current model.”