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GPs ready to introduce longer opening hours

Doctors' trade union the BMA has said it will work towards the 'practical implementation' of the government's plans for extended GP surgery opening hours. The announcement also said that the 'majority of GPs were and remain willing to provide extended hours surgeries'.

In their 'lesser of two evils' ballot over the government's plans, 92% of GPs voted by for option A - the proposal which they believe poses the lesser risk to patient care - over option B. (More on the two options here.)

However, the BMA say that the vast majority (96%) of the 27,000 GPs who took part in the poll opposed both options, and only selected A because they believe it is the less worse of the two.

The BMA believe the poll results show the level of anger among GPs at the way the government negotiated changes to their contract for the year 2008/09, with 98% saying they believed the government's method of negotiation was unacceptable.

Dr Laurence Buckman, Chairman of the BMA's GP Committee said: 'The government must take heed of the strength of feeling shown in this poll. It cannot be good to have such a key part of the health workforce feeling disengaged from the way the government is handling the health service. The effect can only be corrosive and in the long term it is not a good way to get the best service for patients.

'If there is a clear message to come out of this it is that we cannot continue in this way. We want the NHS to work properly as much as everyone else, we want patients to be happy with the service they get from GPs, but it will only work if GPs feel they can trust the government not to bully and micromanage them all the time.

'Let me emphasise that a majority of GPs were and remain willing to provide extended hours surgeries. However, GPs believe they are being railroaded into an unrealistic vision of extended hours. They believe it is at the expense of improvements in clinical care and they think the offer, in its present form, means patients will not get the level and flexibility of service in extended hours that they both expect and deserve. However it is time to draw a line under this and the BMA will now work towards the practical implementation of this package.'

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Page created on March 7th, 2008

Page updated on December 1st, 2009