Viewpoint: We must find more intelligent ways to deliver seven-day NHS care

Health has been slow to evolve. It's true. We have not moved 'off the mainframe' in the way that's happened in computing, telephony, banking, shopping etc.

Dr Chris Mimnagh 'The idea of having the same staffing 24/7 and 7/7 is crazy' (Picture: UNP)
Dr Chris Mimnagh 'The idea of having the same staffing 24/7 and 7/7 is crazy' (Picture: UNP)

The hospital dinosaurs and early hominids of general practice are a long way away from the potential for your iPhone to become your GP (in the style of this New Yorker cartoon). 

It’s also the reason why #ImInWorkJeremy trended on Twitter recently.

We do have thousands of NHS workers in post around the clock. Granted they save lives in many cases, but they also dispense paracetamol and care to sunburn, drinkers and worried well in others, and it seems they all took to social media to evidence their attendance.

That’s what worries me about the health secretary’s call for a seven-day NHS. We already have one that works 7/7, and making the night-time like the day (but darker) is not the way to modernise the NHS.

The idea of having the same staffing 24/7 and 7/7 is crazy.

More than one way to modernise the NHS

We need to wake up to the shifts in other sectors and adopt technologies that mitigate and modify the activity of our populations.

There are now three commercial services available offering video consultations with a GP in England. They are small at present but growing. They are not the incumbent providers but may become the next evolution of the GP.

Where is the NHS in this? Hopefully you are aware that you should be producing a 'digital roadmap' for the National Information Board by April 2016?

This should be your chance to get health personalised and portable before its too late…

  • Dr Mimnagh is a GP and co-director of clincial strategy at Liverpool Health Partners. This article was first published on our commissioning website Inside Commissioning

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