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Inevitable consequences of 'open-all-hours' surgeries

From Dr Brian Bates, Borrowash, Derby

The White Paper Your Health, Your Care, Your Say has almost forced patients to say what the Government wants them to. The questions asked of the electorate include a series on what you might want from your GP. One such beauty asked: 'How much of an improvement would it be if your GP surgery opened later in the evening?'

Who is going to say No to such questioning and how can anyone base major decisions on such responses?

I took the 11 questions from the White Paper (mostly worded similarly to the above example) and changed GP to MP and then undertook my own small survey (47 respondents) and guess what?

The public also wants MPs working earlier mornings and later evenings, to be available within 24 hours, to work every weekend and to be available to the electorate at home and at work.

Wish-lists encourage recklessness and ignore consequences. My patients might be less happy with the carefree responses of their fellow countrymen when the three or four who want to see me at 8pm are given precedence over the 20 who wanted to see me in the afternoon.

GPs can't do three surgeries a day and remain fit to work for very long. There are always consequences.

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