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Consistent quality of care needed for 7-day NHS, says RCN

By 2020 there will be seven-day GP access, Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to confirm in a speech today at a GP surgery in the West Midlands, but the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said today that consistency is key to achieve this.

Cameron is expected to commit to his pre-election pledges of seven-day GP access, increased NHS budgets by at least £8bn a year by 2020, and the recruitment of 5,000 new GPs.

However, an RCN spokesperson said: “The Royal College of Nursing supports moves to ensure that any patient care is if the same standard at 9am on a Sunday morning as 9am on a Tuesday morning.

“To make this a reality, the health service needs sufficient resources to be able to provide enough staff when they are needed. This includes all nursing, diagnostic, imaging, medical and support services. We look forward to working with the government to identify what is needed and ensure that the NHS is safely staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Commenting on the Prime Minister's speech today Christina McAnea, UNISON head of health, said: "For the government's plans to work, ministers must find new money, not take it from the small amount of extra pay that nurses and other NHS staff get from working at night, weekends and bank holidays."

Before the election, the Conservatives backed the Five Year Forward View and pledged to fill the funding gap that was estimated to be £30bn by 2020. Cameron said he would get £22bn from efficiency savings in the NHS, and an additional £8bn would come from taxes.