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GPC wants extended opening DES

The GPC has opened talks with the Government on extending GP opening hours – and hinted the controversial move could be funded by a national DES.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman ruled out including extended access in the quality framework, despite reports this would be the Government's preferred method of funding.

He said: ‘I don't know how many times I have to say it – we will not negotiate QOF points for working some other way. The QOF is for evidence-based, outcome-generated healthcare.'

But Dr Buckman acknowledged the GPC was talking for the first time about how extended hours could be funded.

Although he refused to give details of the ongoing negotiations, he hinted an access DES could be in the pipeline.

Practices offering extended opening should accept LES payments from their PCT only if ‘in the event of there being any kind of national arrangement, the LES can migrate to a national scheme', he warned. ‘Where the scheme is not going to migrate, we don't think practices should be taking part.'

Earlier this month Pulse revealed PCTs across the country have begun offering LES payments to boost GP access.

Dr Stewart Drage, GPC negotiator, said practices should feel free to reject deals. ‘We're concerned practices aren't intimidated into extending access.'

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