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No free extended hours

I would like to clarify two articles in Pulse recently: ‘Competition for patients heats up' (News, 17 October) and ‘GPs must extend hours, not just swap them' (News, 24 October).

The comments relating to East Riding of Yorkshire PCT were taken out of context and have caused anger among some East Riding GPs and the LMC.

I would like to make it clear East Riding of Yorkshire PCT has not asked local GPs to extend their working hours without extra funding.

The report from which the comment was sourced related to improving access in primary care, following key access issues identified by patients in the national patient survey.

Under plans to promote the use of the internet for online booking of appointments and improved telephone access, the report highlighted that some GP practices had already acted independently, without additional financial incentive, to improve access to satisfy patient demand.

Unfortunately, this was misinterpreted by your journalist who related such comments to extending GP hours. This is not the case.

I would like to acknowledge the significant improvements to patient access which have been made by practices within the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Finally, I would like to put on record that the PCT is in the early stages of considering Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review interim report including the extension of GP provision, and will be engaging with GPs to further improve patient access and experience.

From Claire Wood, interim chief executive, East Riding of Yorkshire PCT

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