GPs back extended hours but lack confidence in government

GPs have overwhelmingly voted to accept plans to provide extended hours.

Laurence Buckman
Laurence Buckman

But the vast majority said they did so only because it was the 'least worse' of the two options on the table.

In the BMA's poll of opinion, 92 per cent of GPs backed ‘option A'. This would see an average practice provide three extra hours of care a week, but which the BMA says would lose practices £18,000 in pay each year. Only 6 per cent backed ‘option B', under which extended hours funding would be redirected to PCTs, costing practices £36,000.

But the results are far from a vote of confidence in the government.

Ninety six percent of GPs said they had chosen the least worse of the two options, while only 2 per cent said it had its full support. And 98 per cent of GPs said that believed the government's negotiating tactics were ‘unacceptable'.

82 per cent of UK GPs were not at all confident in the government's handling of the NHS.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chairman, said that the government's behaviour had been ‘corrosive'.

‘The government has a long way to go if it wants to repair the damage its past behaviour has caused. The NHS will only work if GPs feel they can trust the government not to bully and micromanage them all the time.'

But he added that ‘it is time to draw a line under this and the BMA will now work towards the implementation of this package'.

Over 27,000 GPs responded to the poll.

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