Over half of Scottish GPs offering extended hours
By Gareth Iacobucci
More than half of Scottish GP surgeries are now offering extended hours, according to official statistics.
Government figures show 51% of surgeries now have some form of extended hours, with practices offering an extra two-and-a-half hours a week on average.
The figures compare favourably with the 37.8% of English practices offering extended hours, reflecting the growing disparity between different parts of the UK.
Pulse recently reported the growing divisions over implementation of the extended hours DES, after Scottish GPs were handed extra cash to pay for practice nurse support, adding to the greater flexibility already afforded to Scottish GPs over the blocks of time they can offer extra hours in.
But despite the overall proportion offering extended hours being higher than in England, the figures showed widespread discrepancies between different Scottish regions.
In Forth Valley 86% of practices were offering extended hours, compared to 83% in NHS Dumfries and Galloway, 58% in NHS Lothian, 43% in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 40% in NHS Borders and just 35% in NHS Lanarkshire.
Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘We are encouraged that just four months into the new scheme that so many GPs are participating in extending opening hours for their patients. There is little doubt that the public back extended opening hours and I would urge those GP practices that have still to enter the scheme to get involved.
‘Increased resources have been made available for extended hours and this money remains available to those GPs that join in.'Extended hours: offered by over half of Scottish GP practices Extended hours: offered by over half of Scottish GP practices