Only 22 per cent of patients want evening surgeries

A fifth of patients in England want their practice to open at evenings and weekends, according to government-funded research.

The National Primary Care Research and Development Centre (NPCRDC) surveyed patients at 42 practices over a two-year period.

Researchers found that few patients volunteered an opinion on Saturday surgeries, but when specifically asked, 30 per cent said it was a problem.

Twenty-two per cent said they would like surgeries to hold evening clinics – again, only when pushed on the point.

Although the research was completed in 2005, NPCRDC director, Professor Martin Roland said the trend found is likely to have continued.

A DoH access survey published in July found only 14 per cent of patients are unhappy with their surgery’s opening hours. Just 4 per cent called for evening opening hours.

Professor Roland said: ‘It is true that we had to prompt patients, but perhaps they accept some problems with service because they are so used to them they don’t think about complaining. Or perhaps they do not see it as a high priority issue.

‘These are complex issues and we have submitted our findings to the government.’

Although funded by the government, NPCRDC is an independent research body comprising academics from Manchester and York Universities.

henry.ellis@haymarket.com

NPCRDC report: http://www.npcrdc.ac.uk/

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