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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.
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    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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