GP practices must open when patients want access, says PM

GPs must open at times when patients want access, prime minister Theresa May has told MPs.

Prime minister Theresa May (Photo: Home Office)
Prime minister Theresa May (Photo: Home Office)

Speaking during prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday Ms May said GPs were ‘part of the solution’ for the NHS’s future, but that the government wanted to ensure patients can access services when they want.

Ms May’s comments follow media reports over the weekend suggesting that GP funding could be tied more closely to access. A Downing Street source was quoted suggesting that large numbers of practices were not providing the access patients wanted, forcing them to attend A&E.

GP leaders have accused the government of ‘scapegoating’ GPs for the NHS crisis.

Read more: PM should thank GPs, not blame them

Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) asked Ms May to ‘stop cuts to GP services which force thousands to attend hard pressed A&Es’.

Ms May said: ‘GPs are part of the solution in terms of the NHS for the future. That's why we have seen more GPs coming into the NHS.

‘There are 5,000 more GPs being trained and will be in place by 2020.

‘But what we do want to ensure is that GPs are open and providing the services at times when the patients want to access them.’

Ms McDonagh asked the prime minister to meet her constituents to discuss the closure of the 12,000-patient Wilson Health Centre which the MP said was being closed by 'department of health diktat'.

Merton CCG has said that the practice is closing because its contact is due to expire and its premises, on a hospital site, are to be redeveloped.

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