GPs meeting at the annual LMCs conference in York voted to oppose what is a key drive by ministers and NHS managers to open access to health services.
Proposing the motion Wirral LMC member Dr Richard Williams said there was no evidence of any need or demand or that extended hours would ease pressure on emergency departments.
‘GPs are genuinely struggling to provide 8am til 6.30pm five-day cover,' he said.
‘Patient surveys complain that patients can’t get appointments,' he added. ‘We are not on the golf course, it is not that we are not there doing our best seeing as many people as we can.’
Dr Williams said airline pilots have massive restrictions on their working hours. ‘What about GPs,' he said.
To cover 8am to 8pm seven-day access, he said, would need massive increases in manpower and resources.
Dr Nick Morton from Norfolk and Waveney said GPs ‘must not reject the concept of routine GP care 8 to 8, seven days a week.’ But he said it must be properly funded.
Devon LMC’s Dr Bruce Hughes warned GPs could only agree to increased access if properly funded. He said it would also require a ‘huge increase in the number of GPs’.
Southwark LMC’s Dr Claire Lloyd said in an ‘ideal world where there was unlimited financial and workforce resources, it would be to offer routine GP care seven days a week, 8 till 8. But we do not live in this sort of world.’
Government was pushing the idea because it was popular, she said, but it is not realistic.
GPC member Dr Fay Wilson spoke against clause one of the motion, telling LMCs they must not put boundaries around general practice.
‘We need more of it,' she said. ‘And yes we need it for longer hours.’
‘If they’d double the money coming in, we’d do it, right?,' she said to cries of ‘no’ from LMC representatives.
GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said part of the motion, calling for more funding to increase hours, was an issue.
‘This is around making responsible use of a finite resource’, he said. ‘If you want to put your resource into convenient access seven days a week it will be at the price of access to those who most need us.
LMCs rejected the concept of 8am to 8pm services seven days a week and commended GPs for already providing 24-hour unscheduled care.