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Patient Experience? Don't pander to open-all-hours whim

From Dr Anthony DeWeever, Manchester

I would like to voice my opinion on the discredited Patient Experience survey. It is basically giving patients carte blanche to say they would like GP surgeries to open late in the evening and at weekends. Whether such a service is essential, affordable, rational or a sensible use of resources, should be seriously considered.

PCTs have arranged for services, funded by our out-of-hours payments, to deliver appropriate out-of-hours care. Moves toward fragmenting the service again with each practice being open and staffed by GPs, practice nurses and receptionists, would not be a cost-effective use of resources.

It would also be more disruptive to our family lives and a backward step in moves to enable patients to safely self-manage minor self-limiting problems.

If we have to move resources to cover evenings, access in the daytime will suffer unless more funds are made available. In a society where we cannot afford anti-cancer and anti-dementia drugs, it seems crazy that the Government is contemplating spending money on pandering to some patients' whim of having their local surgery open all times of the day and weekends, supermarket-style.

I think the survey should ask: 'Would you be prepared to pay more tax to fund your surgery being open at the weekends and evenings?'

We have homes and families to go to and we work hard enough in civilised hours.

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