Opening hours figures published18th June 2008
More patients are now able to see their patients in the evenings and at the weekend, according to health minister Ben Bradshaw.
He pointed to new statistics for May 2008 that reveal 20% of family doctor practices are already offering extended opening for their patients, up from 12% in April.
And it has emerged that in 21 Primary Care Trusts, more than half of family doctors are now offering an extended service.
The GP opening time figures for May were the first time they had been published but will now be posted by the Department of Health on its website every month.
Mr Bradshaw said the data showed that the NHS was "well on track to achieve" the aim of at least half of GPs providing extended hours for patients by the end of the year.
He added: "Patients tell us that access to GP services is a real issue - they want greater flexibility and choice over when they can see their family doctor. People want more personal and convenient health care, so primary care services need to adapt to respond to this need. I'm very pleased that so many GPs are already responding to this and we expect more and more GPs doing so over the coming months."
The British Medical Association said that while most GPs want to work flexibly, they wanted to do so without too much central control and that the latest figures show there is flexibility and demonstrate that regional differences and needs can be catered for.
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