Doctors at the meeting backed a motion warning that 'delivery of both seven-day routine and elective services is not feasible within the current NHS budget'.
They also backed a motion on seven-day working similar to one rejected by GPs at last month's LMCs conference in York.
The ARM agreed that seven-day services required investment in staff and supporting resources, not merely reorganisation. GP and Devon LMC chairman Dr Bruce Hughes asked the conference to reject that part of the motion, warning that accepting it ‘would seem to imply that with enough resource seven-day working is something we could do’.
‘We need to accept that, given finite resources, it is reasonable to accept there is a difference between routine and urgent care,' he said.
But, he added, it was important to integrate and fund urgent care services, not waste resources extending routine services to a ‘24 hours a day, seven days a week utopia which is just for politicians to earn a soundbite’.
Chairman of the BMA GP trainees subcommittee Dr Krishna Kasaraneni disagreed. He said he wanted to work with secondary care colleagues to provide patients with ‘the best possible care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year’.
‘But all I’m doing is fire-fighting every day in my GP practice’.
GPs, he said, did not have the resources to provide seven-day routine care and the workforce problem was getting worse while doctors already provide week-round care.
‘Both GPs and secondary care doctors need significant investment to compliment each others’ work before … routine care seven-days a week is to be considered.'