Fears over impact of 24/7 GP trials

GP leaders have warned that attempts to open GP surgeries seven days a week could undermine care quality.

Dr Jiva: new money invested
Dr Jiva: new money invested

The warning comes as GPs in north-west England launched extended hours pilots, and as NHS England's Seven-Day Services Programme met patient groups.

More than 30 patient and carer organisations met NHS leaders at an event run by NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh's Seven Days programme.

One organiser, director of national improvement programmes at NHS Improving Quality Dr Janet Williamson, told GP patients wanted more convenient access to integrated services.

'Patients want to see much stronger working between primary and secondary care, and a whole system approach,' she said.

Among issues raised by patients was whether GPs were a 'barrier to seven-day services'.

In north-west England, GPs are driving the launch of a seven-day access pilot programme.

Proposals by GP groups in Greater Manchester to develop integrated care models have been awarded funding worth around £2m by the local NHS England area team.

One winning bid, by GPs in Middleton, in Rochdale, will extend opening hours until 9.30pm on Monday to Friday and offer weekend GP access. GP Dr Mohammed Jiva, who leads the £500,000 scheme, said patients denied access to GPs 'are ending up at A&E, costing local commissioners a lot of money that should be invested in primary care'.

The six-month pilot would see one practice in the town open for the extended hours. 'There is some concern about GPs being cornered into doing this as part of our core work,' said Dr Jiva. 'But this is new money.'

If it kept patients out of A&E, savings could pay for the service to continue, he said. But Manchester LMC honorary secretary Dr John Hughes, criticised the programme, condemning some GPs involved as 'zealots' looking to 'make a quick buck'.

Dr Jiva rejected the charge, arguing his group aimed to improve general practice and had worked for free on the bid.

Dr Hughes said there was a lack of capacity to support seven-day services and that GPs offering evening and weekend cover would limit availability in normal hours and could divert funding from other services.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey warned that funding of daytime general practice and unsustainable workloads must be prioritised.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Houses of parliament

Evidence for mandatory NHS staff COVID-19 jabs 'not good enough', says Lords committee

Evidence to support government plans to require all NHS staff in patient-facing roles...

Dr Farah Jameel

Practices 'need substantial support' to step up Omicron response, warns BMA GP chair

General practice is already facing unsustainable pressure and will need 'substantial...

JCVI COVID-19 immunisation chair Professor Wei Shen Lim

JCVI backs immediate expansion of COVID-19 vaccination to combat Omicron variant

The COVID-19 booster campaign should expand immediately to people aged 18-39 and...

Close up of hand holding sample tube with 'Omicron' handwritten on side

Government urged to 'free up' GP practices and expand steps to control Omicron

GPs have called for immediate action such as suspension of QOF to allow practices...

(Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...

External wall of GP surgery with wording 'medical centre'

‘Utterly toxic’: GPs speak out over abuse and physical attacks on practice teams

GPs have condemned a rise in verbal and physical attacks on practice staff - warning...