Lib Dems back GPs over hours

Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has hit out at the government's 'one size fits all' approach to extended hours.

Mr Clegg told GP that he backed extended hours services where there was demand, but added: 'The great problem is that the government has taken a blanket approach, which works in some areas but is irrelevant in others.'

Mr Clegg also criticised the government for underestimating the cost of the new contract by almost £1.8 billion, as reported by the National Audit Office last month.

But he stressed that GPs were not responsible for the overspend.

'The government misjudged GPs' ability to raise their game, he said. 'I don't think it's fair to say that this was money with no strings attached. Doctors met a lot of demands.'

At their spring conference last week, the Liberal Democrats backed a £2 billion NHS plan that they say would 'radically transform the NHS into a "people's health service"'. This includes personal care for the elderly and personal budgets for patients with long-term conditions.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com.

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