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Thursday 24th May 2018

GPs against extra hours plan

8th February 2008

A survey has found that about two-thirds of family doctors in England would reject plans by the government to extend their working hours.

GP contract1

The poll was carried out for GP magazine after health secretary Alan Johnson wrote to every GP in the country to outline plans to have more surgeries open in the evenings and at weekends.

It showed, however, the 65% of GPs were against the proposals, 29% would accept it under protest and of the 350 who were surveyed, only 6% said they were in favour of the idea. Some GPs may also threaten to leave the NHS or withdraw services.

Mr Johnson’s letter followed the rejection of the plan by the British Medical Association (BMA). It also came as the Department of Health claimed six million patients wanted to see extensions to the opening hours of their surgeries.

The BMA is to follow the magazine survey with a poll of its membership to get further indications of doctors’ views.

BMA GP committee chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: “We know from reports all over the country that there is huge strength of feeling among GPs about the way the government is trying to bully them over the issue of extended hours. They don’t think the government’s plan is flexible as it does not allow for the differing needs of local populations.?

Surgeries that refuse to open longer could see funding levels cut, with primary care trusts commissioning services elsewhere.

The Department of Health said it was disappointed the BMA had not agreed to the planned changes.


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