Give patients choice of access or continuity
I have carefully read your letter in which you explain how the Government wishes to improve access to GP services.
I would like to share my view with you. A significant number of patients have told you via your patient questionnaire that improving access should be a priority for the NHS.
The same questionnaire tells me that a large number of patients value seeing their own GP.
In my view as a GP in a small practice, it would be highly detrimental to patient care to provide evening and Saturday access by sacrificing morning surgery time and I do not think it is realistic to expect me to work from 8am to 9pm.
I believe it is more logical for small practices to continue to provide continuity of care by offering patients the ability to see their own GP and to improve services during core hours.
Large practices will more easily be able to improve access as the sessions can be divided between more doctors and give a greater choice of appointment times. Continuity of care would then be compromised.
Patients would have a choice of registering with a large practice and having access to late appointments or with a small practice where they value continuity of care above extended hours.
I don't have a problem with giving patients this choice as your questionnaire shows there is demand for both types of care. But as a small surgery focused on continuity of care and trying to provide an excellent service in core hours, it seems we will be punished if we don't take up your offer to extend our opening hours.
This does not sound a fair deal for our practice and for a very large proportion of the public that values access to their own GP.
Dr Bruno Capone, Tunbridge Wells, Kent