150 seven-days-a-week practices

Lord Ara Darzi wants more than 50 per cent of practices in England to extend their opening hours.

The surgeon and health minister said funding would be available but if existing practices refused to open extended hours other providers would be commissioned.

He wants PCTs to work with all new and existing practices in their areas to develop greater flexibility in opening hours.

The report adds: 'We will ensure an increasing proportion of the NHS payments made to GP practices are linked to their success in attracting patients, and the views of their patients, including the ability to book advance appointments and the ability to see a GP within 48 hours.'

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said there still had been few conversations between the government and the GPC over extended hours.

'Many GPs work flexibly already, and the nine-to-five jibe by Alan Johnson is an insult. If it is incentivised, we will do anything. If they want GPs to work harder for the same pay, then there's no way,' he added.

The report also proposes 150 large, GP-led practices open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. They will be situated in easily accessible locations offering a range of services including walk-in services.

Health secretary Alan Johnson also proposes 100 new practices, possibly run by private providers, featuring 900 GPs in the most under-doctored 25 per cent of PCTs.

Mr Johnson said he would like to see action on all the changes suggested in the report over the next three years.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com.

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