Extended hours target achieved

The DoH has announced that its target for half of practices in England to open extended hours has been met, despite there being large areas where no GPs are offering the service.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said 51 per cent of practices in England (4,250 out of 8,275) now open extended hours.

But there are still 10 PCTs where fewer than 20 per cent of practices are offering extended hours, and four PCTs where there are no GPs at all offering the service.

Mr Bradshaw said GPs in these areas were 'holding out for a better deal', but PCTs would be 'embarrassed' into resolving the situation when patients see what is available in other parts of the country.

Mr Bradshaw would not rule out a further push for more practices to open extended hours and further access targets to do with 'telephony and receptionists'.

Prime minister Gordon Brown, who made the original extended hours promise in January, said: 'Today is not the end of the story, though,' adding that he expected hundreds more GPs to extend their opening hours before the end of the year.

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