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Most patients satisfied with GP opening hours, shows survey

Fewer than one in five patients are dissatisfied with their GP opening hours, a Labour Party survey has shown.

The analysis of the 2012/13 GP patient survey of 971,000 people found that 83% of patients were happy with their practices’ opening hours.

The report found that people living in the London commuter areas, such as Slough, Ealing, Harrow and Thurrock were the least satisfied, with 26% of Slough residents expressing dissatisfaction.

Of those who were dissatisfied, 72% said they would like their surgeries open on Saturdays, 70% would like evening opening and around a third each said they would like practices open before 8am and on Sundays.

Labour claims that the number of people dissatisfied with opening hours has risen by 6% in the past year.

This comes as NHS England has announced that this year’s GP contract negotiations will focus on ensuring patients have ‘good access’ to GPs as a way of reducing the pressure on urgent care services.

Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s shadow health minister, said: ‘Millions of people want to be able to book an appointment with a GP outside of normal working hours. It’s hard to take time off during work, and many people also have to commute or pick their children up after school.

‘Ministers should also instruct NHS England to ensure all CCGs act on patients’ concerns about getting an appointment and give this issue the priority it deserves.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • Does Liz Kendall realize GPs & the surgery staff too are people with family commitments? If we are to work unsociable hours, we should be compensated accordingly - if the government thinks we should do this for free for the benefit of the nation, may I recommend MPs also work for free, nevermind the 10-15k increase in their wages they want to give themselves.

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  • Jeremy.....can you hear this

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  • We have a government that less than 50% voted for. 83% of people think GP opening hours are fine but the 'elected' government and now the opposition think that we should pander to the whims of a minority regardless of the cost which can only be paid for by reducing other services. Time to start asking politicians and the disastisfied minority which services they would like cut to pay for their convenience. If you want to talk to your bank out of hours your choice is telephone or internet. We have this in the NHS already.

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  • Q;? Would you like more for free

    A; Er.., no

    That's all right then

    There is a lemming like madness afflicting users and political classes that really think the NHS is free. Medical resources are expensive so increasing unsocial hours provision for a minority demand at a time of limited tax funds seems beyond madness .

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  • Yet the non-medical media focused on the absolute numbers "dissatisfied" extrapolated across the whole country and ran with that, glossing over the percentages.

    Liz Kendal - perhaps focus on ensuring it is not hard to take time off work to see a doctor. Prioritise - tax payers shouldn't have to fund a 24 hour routine service (even assuming you can find the staff to run it) for the convenience (not medical need) of the minority.

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  • Liz Kendall's remarks are complete nonsense. Those who book appointments outside normal hours are NOT those who work. It's those who are at home all day. Also the DNA rate for week-end and evening surgeries is much higher than ordinary hours.

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