This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

CAMHS won't see you now

Hunt: 'I've yet to meet a doctor who doesn't want seven-day working'

The health secretary has claimed that he has ‘yet to meet’ a doctor who is not in favour of weekend working, adding that the BMA is out of touch with its members for opposing the Government’s plans.

Speaking at an event at the King’s Fund today, Jeremy Hunt claimed that all the royal colleges supported seven-day working and he ‘can’t hide his frustration’ at the BMA’s stance.

He said today that he was planning to impose seven-day working on newly qualified hospital consultants, but acknowledged that seven-day GP services would be harder.

The Government was ‘starting to have a good dialogue with the GP profession about the best way to do that [seven-day working]’, he added.

However, the health secretary said: ‘My frustration isn’t with doctors. I’ve yet to meet a doctor who doesn’t want to move to seven-day working. They are all very enthusiastic, and the royal colleges support this, but I can’t hide my frustration with the BMA.’

Speaking at the King’s Fund event, Mr Hunt acknowledged that ‘a very big capacity problem’ meant his seven-day general practice plans faced ‘different problems’ but underlined that, despite this, it was ‘essential’ to introduce ‘a seven-day NHS across primary and secondary care’.

Despite the claim that the royal colleges support his plans, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker took a stronger tone by saying GPs are already ‘being pushed to our limits in trying to provide a safe five-day service’ and that the health secretary’s speech sounded ‘alarm bells’ for GPs.

Meanwhile, NHS England has identified the GP contract as a ‘constraint’ to the rollout of the Government’s seven-day working plan, an independent report into seven-day working has revealed.

The NHS Pay Review body’s report on seven-day working said: ‘NHS England told us they had identified a number of constraints, including Agenda for Change staff pay, consultant and GP contracts, and working time, which constrain staffing and create uplifts for weekend work, thus increasing the cost.’

A spokesperson for Mr Hunt said he ‘would not speculate on [GP contract] negotiations’ at this point in time.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that although every doctor works to ensure there is ‘24/7’ access to GP services, ‘very few see the need for a routine care service on a Sunday afternoon’.

He said: ‘We do have a good dialogue and relationship with the secretary of state and NHS England and are trying to encourage them to see that the way to deliver their seven-day agenda is to build on and invest in the current urgent care service rather than creating a parallel service that ultimately undermine each other leading to poorer care for the patients in the area.’

He added: ‘The GP contract is not a block to change but, if invested in properly, provides a solid foundation on which to build.’

Related images

  • Jeremy Hunt - online

Readers' comments (89)

  • 7 day working with a fully operational and adequately funded system is far different to running a 7day service with the same current funding that barely supports what we have;

    more for less is the mantra........come up with the money hunt to fund this and the staff numbers to run this and im sure you will see support; as usual though it'll just be more work on less money and will be reliant on goodwill or outright bullying to make it work;

    in other parts of the world if they want you to do something they pay you!! not beat you with a stick and make threats that changes will be imposed!!!!!

    no wonder uk is losing its brightest and bests for shores abroad....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Meanwhile, NHS England has identified the GP contract as a ‘constraint’ to the rollout of the Government’s seven-day working plan, an independent report into seven-day working has revealed"

    One of the many reasons they want to abolish the ICS. After the PMS reviews, they are planning a radical new contract - what are the bets we will be forced to work 7 days within it?

    I really hope the GPC is ready for the fight

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I used to regularly work over 60 hours a week as a partner, admittedly not at the weekend.
    But since the government screwed up my pension, I quit my partnership, and cut back my NHS work to just 2 salaried sessions a week. I spend the rest of the time doing private work or other things entirely.
    I’d be very interested to hear how Jeremy Hunt is going to make me work weekends.
    Thumb-screws perhaps?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Perhaps if he hadn't ducked out of his Pulse Live interview he'd have met a few......

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I can't get my head round this.

    Has this guy met any doctors at all?

    We all agree that emergency and urgent care needs to be 7/7, 24/7, but routine care at the weekends is something we can't afford (have to pay reception staff, nurses as well as the docs), and there is not the demand for.

    What the real demand is for in primary care is enough routine appointments in the week. Having routine appts at the weekend is not as important as having enough during the week.

    Many of my extended hours appointments are used by small children and the elderly, who could have come at any time, but that was the only appointment available.

    This is daft.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have yet to meet a politician that does not lie

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 'I've yet to meet a politician who works seven-days a week'

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 7 day retirement in a few months. 55 and no more unreasonable unrealistic expectations from patients and political masters. But even in retirement won't have as many weeks holiday as the politicians do or 11% pay rise.
    we need len mcluskey as our union representative

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Wake up GPs! Why are CCGs told to save millions while at the same time brand new modern multimillion pound state of the art hospitals are being built? Why are GP partnerships being made financially unviable?

    In America, private hospitals are HUGE, modern, multimillion pound buildings with state of the art facilities and one patient rooms. The government is preparing to sell these new NHS hospitals to the private sector. They don't need NHS GP partnerships competing with the private sector. They are letting go of anything they cannot sell. And the only value a NHS GP has in the private sector is as a salaried employee in one of their private hospitals.

    I have been invited to write a piece in the Indy to challenge Hunt's 7 day GP service. Look out for it! Written and sent off. And I blame the NHS for brainwashing me to writing for the Indy for no pay! I would definitely be a penniless hungry journo if I keep this up! Must think self respect, self worth, start charging!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If you can smell that Burning it's because his pants are on fire

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say