Tories pledge GP appointments until 8pm on Sundays
By Susie Sell, 12 April 2010
David Cameron has pledged to change the GP contract to ensure patients have access to a GP in their area from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
The pledge is expected to be included in the Conservative's election manifesto, due out on Tuesday.
The Conservatives suggested GPs will be 'free to meet this requirement however they see fit'. They suggested this could be through a GP co-operative, commissioning it from specialist providers such as an ambulance trust, or through contracts with local hospitals and healthcare centres.
Shadow Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Labour's disastrous renegotiation of the GP contract has meant that many people now find it more difficult to see a family doctor than they used to.
‘That's why we need to take this important step to allow people to be able to see a GP 8am-8pm seven days a week. Under a Conservative government people can have confidence that they will be able to see a GP when they need one.'
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a GPC negotiator, called the pledge a ‘predictable election sound bite that clearly hasn't been thought through'.
‘It's predicable and unfortunate that politicians should make such pronouncements without thinking about the detail and cost. We are entering a period of famine in the NHS, and it's hard to imagine how this will be achieved without considerable additional cost to the NHS.
‘We already know that 8am-8pm GP-led Darzi centres are being underutilised and wasting huge sums of money nationally, and so it doesn't make sense to extend this in the future.'
Editor's blog: Do you want to work 8am-8pm seven days a week?
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