GPs will open longer during strike, Hunt tells patients

The government and NHS England have told patients that GP practices could provide extra appointments during the junior doctors strike.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs Monday afternoon that some GPs would extend opening hours to provide non-emergency care during tomorrow and Wednesday's strikes.

A message to patients on NHS England’s website said: ‘There will be extra primary care and GP response/appointment availability during the strike. Individual practices will decide what additional resource is made available.’

GPs responding on social media said they were not aware of any such request.

Junior doctor strikes

Kent GP and Resilient GP founder Dr Stephanie deGiorgio said she was aware of a number of CCGs asking practices to extend opening hours and cancel planned teaching. ‘Most said no,' she said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the additional capacity referred to by Mr Hunt could be related to encouragement from NHS England to practices not to book appointments in advance for strike days.

Dr Vautrey said he was aware of some CCGs offering additional funding for extra sessions.

‘The bottom line is that patients should be confident that practices will, as they do everyday, do all they can to meet the urgent care needs of their patients so that no patient should go to A&E with a problem that can and should be dealt with by their GP’, said Dr Vautrey.

GPonline understands that arrangements have been made at a local level by CCGs and System Resilience Groups, which bring commissioners and providers together, according to local requirements.

A national spokesman for NHS England said it did not have any details on what additional GP services had been arranged by local primary care teams.

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