Extended hours: Tories propose greater GP control

The Tories say they will solve the extended hours row by turning their back on ‘top-down micromanagement’ and handing decision-making back to GPs.

As well as returning out-of-hours commissioning to GPs, the Conservative Party says it will let GPs decide what works best for them.

‘We need to give GPs and the local NHS responsibility for assessing what's best for their area. Some will want to offer extended hours, but other areas may not need them,' said Mark Simmonds, MP for Boston and Skegness, shadow minister for health with responsibility for primary care.

‘Top-down micromanagement of GP services by the government is inconsistent with our determination to re-engage professionals and devolve responsibility and choice closer to patients,' said shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley.

‘In my experience, GPs want to respond to the needs of their patients and they want to provide high quality clinical care. How they achieve this will vary from place to place,' he said.

Opening hours would be market-driven, with patients unhappy with their GP's surgery times ‘free to go elsewhere', the Tories say.

Under a Conservative administration, GPs will resume responsibility for patient care between 6.30pm and 8.00am.

They will commission or provide care from budgets set by the independent board the party has pledged to install to run the NHS.

But Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the GPC said ‘We would need to see a lot more detail before suggesting that some GPs would be happy with this. One concern would be whether the resources would be there.'


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