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Saturday 21st September 2019

GP opening hours to benefit 'seven million patients'

15th April 2014

The prime minister announced in October that £50m would be made available to GP services to operate outside normal hours and by methods including phone, email and Skype.


The high levels of interest in the original plans saw the scheme extended and, instead of benefiting half a million patients, the pot will go towards helping a figure closer to seven million.

Mr Cameron also announced plans to improve care services for elderly people. Around 800,000 people over the age of 75 would get customised care, coordinated by just one local GP.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the move as "one of the biggest changes that we need to make in our NHS".

The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham had previously criticised Mr Cameron by saying he "removed Labour's guarantee of an appointment within 48 hours" and "cut the money for later opening hours".

Whilst commenting on the current changes, Burnham said: "For the vast majority who are outside of this scheme, things will carry on getting worse and they are being told to expect to wait a week for a GP appointment."

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association's General Practice Committee, said the changes must be "properly supported". 

He also said: "The government must take further action so that community, social and urgent care work in tandem to deliver truly holistic care to patients".

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