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NHS told to achieve nine 'must dos' during 2016

Every local health system has been issued with nine essential priorities that have to be achieved during 2016-17 along with a specific ambition linked to the delivery of seven day services.

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The nine key targets issued by the six national NHS organisations include a focus on local system-wide planning, eliminating the NHS deficit and meeting key waiting time targets in acute and mental health services.

The 2016-17 NHS planning guidance document also demands local NHS areas work to reduce the number of “excess deaths” across England by increasing consultant cover on hospital wards and improving access to diagnostic services at weekends.

By the end of March 2017 NHS providers covering a quarter of England will be expected to meet at least four out of the 10 clinical standards for seven day services, which were originally published by NHS England in December 2013.

Half of the country will be expected to meet the standards by 2018 ahead of “complete coverage” across England by 2020.

In August providers were told to focus their efforts on four targets including all emergency admissions being reviewed by a consultant within 14 hours; access to key diagnostics; consultant-led decisions across seven days and twice daily reviews for all high dependency patients.

Originally NHS England had expected all 10 clinical standards to be achieved by March 2017 but this target has been relaxed following the spending review and timetable for the Five Year Forward View. The guidance also demands better access to primary care services at weekends and evenings “where patients need it” through increased capacity in future years. Access to out of hours care will also be expected to be enhanced through “better integration and redesign of NHS 111, minor injuries units, urgent care centres and GP out-of-hours services.”

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