Extended hours policy disadvantages overstretched GPs
We are a large practice in a relatively affluent suburb of our town. We have always been underdoctored with lists of more than 2,300 per doctor against a national average of 1,800.
We have high levels of demand for out-of-hours access because of our predominantly working population, but are unable to provide the 7.5 hours per week of extended opening required by the DES in addition to our high level of daytime workload, and as a result face losing £38,000.
The PCT, which has always been reasonably supportive of us, is now bound by the Government's unreasonable funding rules to use any new money to create practices in deprived areas, where most patients are chronically ill or unemployed and so can go to the surgery in normal hours.
Therefore, on the specific issue of access, practices such as ours that are in most need of support to meet patient demand, not only miss out but are actually disadvantaged by the Government's misguided reform policy.
We have had a meeting at the surgery with our MP and he is writing to the PCT chief executive to question this funding policy. Our patients have shown us great support.
From Dr Saj Azfar, Rochdale, Lancashire