Push for extended hours is 'not family friendly'

Nottingham GPs reject Saturday surgeries as extended hours becomes the hot topic at the LMCs Conference.

GPs are to protest to the government that it is riding roughshod over its own family-friendly working policies by requiring them to work extended hours.

Nottinghamshire LMC has accused the government of ignoring the needs of GPs' families.

The extended hours requirement 'gives the lie to any suggestion that they are committed to achieving family-friendly working conditions for all who work in the NHS,' the LMC says in a motion to next month's annual LMCs conference in central London.

A recent survey showed that Nottinghamshire GPs were likely to foil the government's attempts to make them work at weekends. Only 17.5 per cent of GPs in Nottingham City PCT and 36 per cent of GPs in Nottinghamshire County PCT were willing to work on Saturdays.

'The majority of the practices who responded to our survey are saying "no" to Saturday mornings. They are reluctant to give up their weekends,' said Nottinghamshire LMC's chief executive Chris Locke.

'There are many more women, and it's unrealistic to expect them to work extended hours, especially when it's uneconomic,' he said.

'It's a difficult balance between consumerism and being family friendly and the government wants it both ways.'

LMCs have condemned extended hours as: 'the thin end of the wedge' (Manchester); 'mere electioneering' (Devon); lacking an evidence base (Camden); and insufficiently funded (Southwark); and warned that they 'would prove harmful to evidence-based patient care' (Wandsworth).

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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