The survey of 10,000 patients showed that patients want to see changes in GP opening hours. More than two thirds of patients (69 per cent) say they would be content to see surgeries close during the day if GPs offered appointments outside of the traditional 9am - 6pm opening times.
The most popular option for more convenient opening hours is after 6pm in the evenings, which is backed by a third (34 per cent) of patients. Saturday openings were favoured by one in three (29 per cent) patients.
The survey also showed that 88 per cent of patients now see their GP within 48 hours.
Health minister Andy Burnham said: ‘It's vital we ensure GP practices are open when patients want. Opening hours should reflect patient preferences and we will look to use the GP contract to provide more incentives for GPs to offer better opening hours. Our aim is to improve convenience and lengthen the time during which patients can get routine access to GP services.'