David Cameron has announced plans for a £50 million scheme aimed at ensuring that GPs “fit in with work and family life.” Under the scheme, to be piloted in selected areas of England, surgeries will be able to bid for funding to enable them to stay open from 8.00am to 8.00pm seven days a week.
Doctors will also be able to offer consultations over the telephone, via e-mail and through video conferencing software such as Skype. Patients with long-term conditions will be offered technology to monitor their health, thus reducing the need for visits to the surgery.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that doctors must update their working habits to reflect the needs of their patients. He said “we live in a 24/7 society, and we need GPs to find new ways of working so they can offer appointments at times that suit hard-working people.”
Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector for General Practice, has also suggested that the move to seven-day services should be “embraced” by GPs. He said “I want to see brilliant access to GP services for patients across the country, and will be assessing this in each practice I inspect.” However, the Royal College of GPs has opposed the scheme warning that GPs are already struggling to cope with their workload in light of existing cuts.
For more information please click on the links below: