Practices will not be allowed to move consultation time from the day to the evening or weekends to give GPs time off.
Further details of how the extended hours DES will work were released after GPs reluctantly accepted the governments offer.
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman hopes that PCTs will be flexible, as extended hours could be achieved easily if GPs could shift appointments around.
Therefore the GPC is still advising practices not to participate in a PCT audit of the appointments they offer. This will make it harder for PCTs to assess if GPs are working fewer hours in the day when the extended hours DES starts.
GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said a lack of flexibility in the current agreement meant GPs would be working from 8am until 8pm. ‘That cannot be good for patient safety. Tired doctors are more likely to make mistakes,' he said.
The GPC called for PCTs to be reasonable and to work with LMCs on the implementation of the DES.
The agreement with NHS Employers was announced alongside the results of the GP poll of opinion, which showed nearly all (97 per cent) GPs lacked confidence in the government's handling of the NHS.
The poll also showed an overwhelming majority of GPs (98 per cent) thought the government's methods of negotiation were unacceptable. But although 96 per cent of GPs were opposed to both options, 92 per cent voted for option A, which means the average practice will lose £18,000 unless it participates in the DES.
Scotland will begin work on implementing a slightly different version of the DES after discussions between PCOs and contractors establish local need.
Northern Ireland has negotiated an improved clinical DES instead of extended hours. Wales is negotiating to do something similar.
|Extended hours DES in England|
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