Your letters, calls and emails: Extended hours will anger GPs and not help patients

Gordon Brown and his administration are threatening to force GPs to open surgeries beyond the normal contracted hours, despite there being little evidence that this will benefit patients.

The GPC has been told in no uncertain terms that if GPs don't accept the DoH proposals the contract will be forced on us.

Imposing a contract on GPs sends a very negative message about how little the prime minister values them.

Here we have a group of doctors who are dedicated to helping patients; who have hit 95 per cent of their quality targets; whose patient satisfaction is high according to the government's own survey (the £11 million survey that showed 84 per cent were happy with current opening hours); and who have been willing to negotiate to provide extended hours.

We have also come up with a proposal for providing extended access to GPs, yet this is how badly the government treats us. It's a disgrace.

GPs are willing to do extended hours if practices are sufficiently resourced and we have come up with a proposal which we think will provide extended hours without needing any extra money. Crucially, the implementation will also be flexible - a practice in a rural area has very different needs to one in a deprived urban area.

The government's proposal doesn't allow that flexibility because Gordon Brown has tied himself to a political target that would see GPs open from 8am-8pm. There is little understanding of how surgeries are run and how much practices vary.

Family medicine is not like any other high-street business, and it is not as simple as just bringing in any other doctor to work longer hours - patients value continuity of care. Seeing a doctor forced to work long into the evening could mean they are seeing a tired doctor, which is not good for patients.

The government's treatment of GPs will deter young doctors from entering the profession, and we still have a shortage of family doctors.

The prime minister's obsession with targets is very short sighted.

Dr Kailash Chand, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.

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