This appears to be the shift that triggered the GPC to say the proposed contract would be less damaging to general practice than the imposition.
It will be up to PCTs and practice-based commissioning groups to decide how the extended hours DES works locally, according to the DoH.
Speaking exclusively to GP, DoH policy advisor Richard Armstrong said that although patients must be able to access a practice in core hours, ‘that doesn't stop the practice looking at its own internal resources and seeing whether there are other periods of the day when they could move individual surgeries around'.
The GPC has advised practices not to tell PCTs how many appointments they currently offer.
Under the proposed GMS contract for 2008/9, the DoH wants practices to open an extra 30 minutes a week per 1,000 patients.
A further 58.5 quality points will be reassigned to rewarding access and the DoH has offered a guaranteed 1.5 per cent increased investment in general practice.
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