Elderly charities concerned about extended hours

Charities are concerned older patients may suffer because of the government’s push to force practices to open extended hours.

Last week GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman wrote to charities and clinical groups complaining that prime minister Gordon Brown’s obsession with extended hours could damage patient care.

Dr Buckman wrote: ‘It seems the government has scant regard for older and chronically ill patients in this country. It is more intent on chasing what it sees as political vote winners.’ 

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: ‘As older people make more visits to their GP than other adults, it is vital that the government considers their needs in any review of surgery opening times.

‘This should include that longer hours for doctors does not make it harder for them to see a designated GP.’ 

A Help The Aged spokeswoman said extended hours potentially benefited all patients.

‘However, any policy changes should be evaluated thoroughly to ensure that they do not adversely affect existing patients, or people receiving regular care from their GP,’ she said.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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