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Secondary care should be seven days a week, right to die campaign reaches high court, and NHS art budget hits millions of pounds

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 16 December

Secondary care services should face government sanctions if they fail to provide seven day access to specialist consultants and diagnostic services, the Guardian reports.

The announcement was made by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, who said sanctions could involve a financial penalty and restrictions on hospitals using junior doctors.

Professor Keogh told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘It seems strange in many ways that we should start to wind down on a Friday afternoon and warm up on a Sunday … and [in the] meantime people are waiting for diagnosis and treatment.’

On the BBC, a right to die campaign involving the family of the late locked-in syndrome sufferer, Tony Nicklinson, and Paul Lamb of Leeds – who was paralysed in a car crash – has reached the high court.

The group want a change in law to enable them to die with the help of a doctor; this has to reconcile the law against suicide with European Convention on Human Rights which assures the right to choose the timing of your death.

Earlier in the year an appeal on the right to die was dismissed, with the judges saying in ruling: ‘Our responsibility is to discover the relevant legal principles, and apply the law as we find it’.

And finally, the Independent on Sunday has uncovered that 89 Trust hospitals across the country have spent nearly £2m pounds on artworks since 2010.

The actual total is likely to be far higher across the 222 mental health and hospital trusts in the country; works included an £83,000 water feature at Salford Royal, and a £120,000 “ceiling artwork” at Barts and Royal London.

A spokesperson for the ‘Keep our NHS public’ campaign said: ‘We have 20,000 nursing posts unfilled in order to save money, and junior doctors working incredibly long hours, some of them covering for colleagues because there is no money for locums.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • So NHS Trusts have spent nearly £2m on 'art work in hospitals' but some trusts will not fund NICE recommended Art therapy. You really need to hold a mirror up to yourselves.

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