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The doors to Dr Dinesh Kapoor's surgery have been open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, since last November. It is one of three practices piloting the 'Eight till Eight' opening that North East London strategic health authority wants to see in operation across its seven PCTs.

Dr Kapoor said the practice had attracted 1,200 extra patients since the change and now offered

15-minute appointments.

All four partners and staff were happy with the new arrangements and staff had willingly altered their working times, he said. But he conceded other practices may not be willing to restructure.

'The benefits are tremendous for patients but it's not for everyone,' he said. 'The downside is additional management issues, training for new receptionists and to ensure locums have proper protocols. We had to have additional staff and you need enough money to cover overheads.'

The practice in Leyton was given cash to pay for a GP locum, practice nurse and receptionist cover for five extra sessions per week, but this is discontinued from next week.

Dr Kapoor said: 'We have to work out if we can sustain this. It would be a Herculean task for a singlehander, but it can work for larger practices.'

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