Concerns expressed over David Cameron's GP surgery extended-hours plan (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Concerns expressed over David Cameron's GP surgery extended-hours plan
7:00am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
More than 90 per cent of GP surgeries in the Bradford district are shut all weekend – making David Cameron’s pledge of seven-day opening “unachievable”, doctors’ leaders say.
Just ten of around 120 surgeries open on Saturdays, but they offer appointments for just a few hours that day, a study shows.
And not one across the Bradford district is open on both Saturday and Sunday – the Prime Minister’s aim.
Now the Family Doctor Association, which represents around 1,000 practices across the country, has accused Mr Cameron of promising an “undeliverable service”.
Dr Peter Swinyard, the organisation’s chairman, said: “The announcement isn’t realistic within the resources that we have in the health service.
“It’s not realistic to talk about GP services opening from 8 until 8, seven days a week.”
Earlier this month Mr Cameron unveiled plans to encourage GP surgeries to open over the weekend – for 12 hours each day – to make appointments easier for patients.
He said: “Millions of people find it hard to get an appointment to see their GP at a time that fits in with their work and family life. We want to support GPs to modernise services so they can see patients from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.”
However, Mr Cameron announced only a £50m fund for a trial scheme, enough to fund weekend opening at just 50 practices across the country, from next year.
The T&A analysed around 120 local practices and found just ten open on Saturdays: l Two are in central Bradford – at the Carlton Medical Practice, in Girlington Road, and Farrow Medical Centre, in Otley Road.
* A tenth is Springfield Surgery, Bingley A spokesman for the Springfield Surgery said they opened on every fourth Saturday and late night on every fourth Monday by juggling the amount of extended-hours cover paid for by the Government.
“Our patients definitely appreciate the extended hours we deliver within our budget constraints,” he said.
The Royal College of GPs has argued the NHS already needs 10,000 more GPs to cope with an ageing population and an increase in long-term medical conditions.
It argued Mr Cameron had overlooked the fact that urgent-care centres and walk-in clinics are open at weekends, often staffed by the same family doctors.
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