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Independents' Day

Just 15% of GPs offering longer hours

Just 15% of GPs say they are currently offering extended hours, far below the Government's new target for half of all practices to do so.

But a Pulse survey finds that where practices are opening in the evening or at weekends, they are rarely receiving any extra payment to do so. Only one in five GPs who worked extended hours said they were being paid for the added work.

The survey of 163 GPs sets out the size of the Government's task as it aims to effect a revolution in opening hours over the next three years.

A third of GPs said they would be willing to offer ex-tended hours if the GPC negotiated a national DES payment for the service, which has emerged as the BMA's preferred solution. A third said they would not offer a service regardless of a DES, whereas a third said they might do if substantial sums of money were offered.

Dr Peter Moore, a GP in Torquay, said he would be prepared to work extended hours ‘if offered an appropriate payment,' but that ‘it would be a waste of NHS resources' in his area. ‘This is an idea from the chattering classes of the South East,' he said.

Dr Asad Mubarik, a GP in Heywood, Rochdale, said extended hours were ‘politically motivated' and should only be acted on by GPs if adequately funded. ‘I think the GPC should poll for strike action if the Government persists with this without funding,' he said.

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