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Independents' Day

GPs will have to submit evening and weekend access data under new contract

GP practices will be required to record the availability of evening and weekend opening for routine appointments under the 2016/17 GP contract deal.

The new requirement, to which the GPC has agreed, will see all GP practices having to submit ‘access surveys’ every six months until 2020/21.

The move comes as the Government is working to a manifesto commitment to ensure all patients have access to routine evening and weekend appointments by 2020, which the GPC has previously branded ‘a pipe dream’.

Commenting on the deal earlier today, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the contract agreement was ’just the start of significant new investment for general practice, will help GPs to provide a truly modern, efficient service every day of the week’.

But GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that although the GPC has agreed to the data collections, it represents no change to the terms of the extended hours enhanced service or introduce any contractual requirement on practices themselves to offer routine evening and weekend appointments.

This comes as during contract negotiations, Pulse learned that NHS Employers had floated an idea that would see funding move into a new DES paying practices for providing seven-day access as part of networks.

Instead, Dr Vautrey said: ’Twice a year, practices will be required to provide data on whether patients have access to routine evening and weekend appointments. These appointments do not need to be delivered by the practice itself and could apply to access to a locality or challenge fund hub that patients in the practice can access.’

He added that the GPC would be talking to NHS England about how this work but anticipated it being limited to a few brief questions similar to the current e-declaration that practice managers already complete.

It comes as a new alternative contract for larger practices with at least 30,000 patients, to be planned during 2016/17 and rolled out from April 2017, is expected to include a seven-day access requirement.

This is despite the official evaluation into the Prime Minister’s seven-day access pilots showing there was little demand for patients to attend routine appointments on Saturday afternoons or Sundays.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Well easy answer Sherlock- No weekend surgery!.
    It is called OOH. i.e same days the MP`s Do NOT meet in parliament to run the country which apparently is OK with Hunt but not for routine appointments!
    Has anyone seen an article in local newspaper where a person had called Hunt`s office to see him and was told he doesn`t see plebs (I mean people) on weekends and is booked up for 4 weeks so no appointments till then.

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  • if you pay the money you get the appointments. i lead a wave 2 pmcf bid in central cheshire covering 20+ practices - in January we had 1000 Gp appointments across our area on a Saturday morning. we havent gone down the hub route - we have asked practices to open themselves taking into account both their and their pts views/wants/abilities. So most open some saturdays not all. We pay £36 a consultation with a GP which we are informed is a fairly average price (nb this is to the practice - the practice decides what it pays its staff inc reception admin GPs - some use partners some use locums) - some other bids and some ooh pay a lot more. although we started talking about whole weekend opening - noone wants more than sat am - the numbers wanting sun am are so low its not worthwhile. The problem isnt opening on a saturday - its expecting us to do it for the same money as now. pay us more at a decent rate - we will do it. interestingly the biggest problem for some surgeries has been the security of opening a building for a few patients and lack of receptionists wanting to work weekends - lack of IT support the CSU wont open and lack of access to any hospital facilities inc labs etc.

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  • simple, for us none available at weekends or evenings, will fill in our next 10 year returns now

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  • Easy. Q1 = 0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0.

    Return completed.

    Repeat ad infinitum.


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  • It is clearly a paper exercise so they can say a certain percentage/ number have access.

    I would be trying my hardest to make sure the answer was ZERO.

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  • Has always been 0. Will always be zero. Never to change. If forced we close. End of conversation

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  • Ivan....Ivan......are you there Ivan?

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  • Ivan is busy seeing ghost patients on Sundays and practicing homeopathy.

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  • Seriously ... let's just get it over with and tag GPs along with some kind of electric implant to apply a shock if they stray. 24/7 data and complete control, don't know why they haven't suggested this already.

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  • More bullying micromanagement by the delusional Stasi maniacs

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