70% of GPs oppose extended hours spending

Half of GPs would consider extending opening hours if re-sources were available but three-quarters do not believe it is a good way to spend scarce NHS resources.

Dr Laurence Buckman

The results are from a GPC survey of 11,000 GPs published today.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘With regard to extending hours further beyond the current 8am to 6.30pm, GPs remain to be convinced. Without specific additional funding for ex-tended hours, current services will become harder to sustain.

‘It will mean surgeries will have to close during the day, so they can be open in the evening. Fewer daytime appointments will affect the patients who use and need us the most. It would be the elderly, the very young and those with long-term conditions who would lose out.

‘We need to see that the changes that are currently being mooted are for sound reasons and that they will really be of benefit to patients.

‘If we are not very careful, we will have a private health service without continuity, provided by large businesses working from remote premises. We remain to be convinced that is what our patients want.’

Other survey findings include:
* One in six GPs is contemplating a career change outside general practice,
* 89 per cent of GPs said that the intensity of their in-hours work-load had increased since the intro-duction of the new contract and 89 per cent said that the complexity of their consultations had in-creased in this time,
* 78 per cent of GPs believe that the introduction of private sector providers to primary care will not improve the quality of service that patients receive,
*62 per cent of GPs believe that the option of Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contracts poses a major threat to the quality of general practice and to the quality of patient care,
* 74 per cent expect a decrease in income in 2008/9.


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