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GP surgeries cut hours

26th July 2012
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Visits to A&E departments are rising after figures revealed almost 500 more GP surgeries across England closed their doors at weekends and evenings.

Data from Labour’s NHS Check also found some patients had to wait up to three weeks to get a basic appointment with their GP, while patients waiting for longer than four hours in hospitals has doubled.

Figures show a 5.7% drop in the number of clinics offering out-of-hours appointments in the last year, while only 11 bodies governing GPs reported an increase in surgeries seeing patients after hours.

The information was based on responses of 91 of the 151 Primary Care Trusts and have been released only weeks after GPs took industrial action over the future of their pensions.
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking before the last General Election, had said patients should be able to get a GP appointment until 8pm, seven days a week.

But Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘The Prime Minister promised patients would be able to get evening appointments with their GP, but our figures show things are heading in the opposite direction – with almost five hundred more surgeries now shutting earlier.

“The NHS Check revealed a major fall in the number of GPs’ surgeries offering evening and weekend appointments – leaving patients unable to see their GP at a convenient time and with some people waiting up to three weeks for an appointment.”

The Conservatives rejected the claims and a spokesman said it was Labour’s GP contract which saw 90% of surgeries stop offering out-of-hours services altogether.

 

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