Letters, calls and emails: Charge patients for extended hours

Dear Editor

The proposal to fund extended opening with 60 quality points is clearly unacceptable and I do not expect any practices to take this on (GP, 12 October).

This is a marvellous opportunity to reform primary care and the rules surrounding GP working.

In secondary care, if a patient finds it inconvenient to attend the hospital during normal working hours, they have the choice to pay privately.

In primary care this option is not available unless the patient is happy to pay for all of their subsequent care privately - i.e. prescriptions and secondary care referrals; even then it is not possible under current rules to be seen by their usual NHS GP privately. This is a nonsense.

I do not understand why, if patients need more convenience and flexibility in their NHS (and let's face it the majority of consultations are with the elderly and children who can attend during the day), they should not be allowed to be charged an extra fee to see their NHS GP at a time of their choosing, for NHS treatment.

This proposal ticks every box. It brings more money into the NHS system.

It provides continuity of quality care and it doesn't cost the government a penny. All other aspects of routine and emergency care need not change and surely everybody is happy. I have not spoken to a single doctor or patient who thinks that this is a bad idea.

If the politicians determining the delivery of primary care do not like this idea, I can only assume that they are continuing in their concerted effort to destabilise GP delivery of primary care.

Dr Nick Brown, Chippenham, Wiltshire.

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