Seven-day working week mulled to cut waiting times at Oxford hospitals

Hospital bosses in Oxford are considering implementing a seven-day working week in a bid to slash waiting times which are spiralling out of control.

Hospitals chief Sir Jonathan Michael has made the announcement following Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust’s biggest inspection to date, which was published last month. The inspection highlighted waiting times as being a key concern, blaming rising demand on services at trust hospitals.

Planned admissions requiring a patient to stay in overnight rose from 22,312 in 2012/13 to 24,208 in 2013/14 at hospitals including The John Radcliffe, Oxford’s Churchill and Banbury’s Horton, the inspection found.

The latest figures also showed that trust hospitals missed a target stating that 90 per cent of patients needing non-urgent, doctor-led hospital treatment must be seen within 18 weeks, only achieving 80.6 per cent.

While a target of 95 per cent was set for patients to be seen within four hours at A&E, just 90.1 per cent were seen within that time frame.

Mr Michael has confirmed that more routine operations and extra operating lists six days a week are also being considered in addition to the seven-day working week. Through these methods, he said he hopes that sites including The John Radcliffe will meet national targets within three months.

He told the Oxford Mail: “We have still got work to do to ensure we meet the waiting time targets. But we told them that we think we can get on top of them over the next two to three months, deliver the improvements and get performance back under control.”