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GPs told to prepare for 'Tesco-style' seven-day opening

GPs should be prepared to work at weekends for the benefit of patients in an effort to emulate the customer service offered by Tesco, the medical director of the NHS Commissioning Board has said

Sir Bruce Keogh told the Sunday Times that primary and secondary care clinicians should move towards seven-day working. He said the current system is designed for health workers and not patients.

‘Our system has been based around providing as good a working environment as you can for the people who work in the health service, which isn’t necessarily matched with what the people who want services have. If you wanted a day case operation, and you didn’t want to take a day off work, why can’t you have it on a Saturday or Sunday?,’ he said.

‘It seems strange in a way that you cannot go to a clinic at the weekend, you cannot have your day case surgery at the weekend when the rest of the commercial world is going in a different direction.

‘Tesco have had to go through this – it was a complex issue for them. As we think this through, we will need to look at the terms and conditions of service of people – employment conditions.’

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘The health service is not Tesco — I don’t think that is a good comparison. Equally, there are examples around the country where clinics are taking place at weekends.’

She added: ‘The BMA is open to discussing seven-day working. The key issue is flexibility — not all clinics will need [weekend opening].’

Readers' comments (62)

  • Tesco did it not for the good of the people, but for profit.
    I work to help others.
    Yet another kick from a goverment whose priority is votes rather than sense.
    Mao Tse Tung, had a similar ethic- constant revolution and change to confuse the masses and cause constant anxiety.

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  • Is that why the extended hours DES is stopping and does that mean that Tesco is now free at the point of service?

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  • The Tesco model could work. Patients could stand in long queues in warehouses and scan themeselves. If that doesn't work they could join even longer queues to see someone on a minimum wage who can do the scanning for them. What could possibly be wrong with that?

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  • are these people living in the real world?

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  • There is a clear agenda to privatise NHS ASAP - decisions are clearly being made contrary to the white paper, this has never been a bottom up exercise, pure dictatorship. We are losing a lot of GP workforce to Australia/NZ and this is eventually lead to poor quality

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  • NHS is not free. We are paying for the service through our taxes!!!

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  • Given the mauling GP's have had on Pay, Pensions and fresh on the heels of the latest QOF imposition the BMA should be screaming that enough is enough but instead we are told that they are open to discussing a 7 day week.

    We should not contemplate any discussion until such time as the DOH addresses our other grievances.

    I am afraid that the BMA gives every impression of being happy to go along with the destruction of Primary Care.

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  • He refers to "the rest of the commercial world". The NHS is not the commercial world - though that's the clear aim of the English NHS. Tesco's - long queues and lowest wages it can get away with. Is that a good model to aspire to for healthcare?

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  • Hazel Drury

    You really shouldn't be taking just 1 day off for any "day case surgery" ! You think that day case means 1 day recovery too?? Meanwhile, on planet Earth......

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  • Our system has been based around providing as good a working environment as you can for the people who work in the health service, which isn’t necessarily matched with what the people who want services have. If you wanted a day case operation, and you didn’t want to take a day off work, why can’t you have it on a Saturday or Sunday?,’ he said.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Oh I see now Sir Bruce. All patients who have day case surgery go back to work next day therefore if they have their op at the weekend they won't miss any work at all ( unless they work in Tescos of course).

    Thank goodness I retire soon.

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  • European working time directive! As long as we are part of the EU, we wont be working a 7 day week. Never going to happen , no need to get upset about these comments.

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  • Harry Longman

    Why oh why did the previous government chuck away the GPs 24 hour responsibility for patients? Doctor-patient relations converted into transactions. They can never be the same.
    Now DH wants it back, but again the thinking is all numbers, and Tesco analogies will not help. They are perfectly happy with transactions after all - it's a shop.

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  • Let common sense prevail

    I am quite prepared to open the surgery for 7 days, but clearly I will need more GP's and more staff. To go from a 5 days service to a 7 day service it would seem reasonable to expect a 40% uplift in pay. As soon as that is agreed I'll get on with it!!!!!!

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  • David

    It would require an increase in funding if more appointments are to be offered rather than the same number spread over 7 days not 5. But it wont increase pay as each employee would still work 5 out of 7 days, or there would be some form of shift pattern, just as there is for junior doctors and nurses i the acute setting.

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  • The Tesco comparison was unwise but there is a serious point about access to primary care for the working population. It's obvious that the system does very little to cater for the working masses, not every boss will allow you to take time off to see a GP. Why shouldn't GPs work shifts if this best serves patient needs?

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  • I don't mind organizing 7 day surgery as long as there is adequate funding - on a simplistic scale, we'll need to multiply our per capita payments and correction factor (any whatever form it may exist) by 9/7th (2 more days of the week) and 1.5 (extra payment for unsociable hours).

    Will DoH afford such expense? I doubt it. They'll try and make us do it for nothing........

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  • Vinci Ho

    Editor , will you interview Dr Gareda on this matter?
    I think many people are interested in her opinions ?

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  • I am baffled...what next - GPs/consulatants working 24/7!! If Prof Keohg is willing to be availabel to the pubilc and his team 24/7, 7/7, I will be happy to do so.
    I can see mass exodus of older GPs showing the Victory sign to the Govt/public

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  • a fine comedian.really made me laugh.

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  • Nhsfatcat

    The way of the world is that value is measured in money and demand and more demand for service.
    If my children's schools open on Saturday and Sunday I can come to work; or am I as a GP going to sacrifice my family life and give up my volunteer weekend work to be a slave to HMGs drive for votes.
    Get a grip people start valuing healthcare, the people who provide it and services as they should be. Not in monatary terms but as a precious resourse.
    As for the fallout position of 'I pay my taxes' I do not think people ahve a scooby about how much is provided for so little. One day the goodwill and vocation to be a healthcare worker will be consumed by a monatary value being put on it and when it does the customer will be in more pain having to pay the true costs or what the commercial medical world will demand. PLEASE look across the Atlantic and see what we are heading for. Stop believing all the bad news via the Dailies and HMG their agenda is not patient centred, it's profit centred.

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