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Independents' Day

'Be positive' about seven-day working, advises extended hours pioneer

GPs should be positive about seven-day working because the alternative is ‘much more scary’, says a CCG leader pioneering extending practice hours.

NHS Central Manchester CCG clinical director Dr Ivan Benett said that managing more care outside hospital was the only way to sustain the NHS and that extending practice hours was part of this.

Dr Benett was speaking after the Manchester ‘demonstrator’ project for extended practice opening - in which Central Manchester is one of four CCGs taking part - was hailed as ‘pioneering’ by prime minister David Cameron in the autumn.

Asked what he would advise other GPs regarding seven-day working, Dr Benett said: ‘To be positive about it, I think we can do this. In fact we have to do it because otherwise NHS is not sustainable, so we have to manage that urgent care activity particularly out of hospital and in primary and community care.

‘I think we can do it. We are just one of a few pilot sites that are trying out different ways of doing it and time will tell whether that works.’
‘But be positive because actually the alternative is very much more scary than anything else.’

NHS England is taking applications to receive funding from the prime minister’s £50m ‘challenge fund’ to extend general practice until 14 February.

Readers' comments (94)

  • Vinci Ho

    All comments , anonymous or not , are welcome

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  • Managing the nhs at the expense of the GPs health is in nobody's interest

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  • Positively NO over my dead body and if it happens it probably will be,worked to death.

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  • im reading a very interesting book about economics at the moment, amongst other things it states economics is all about incentives. Why do we all of a sudden want to manage care outside hospital? Hospitals are quite a good idea - a concentration of specialists, diagnostic facliities and intensive nursing - exactly what you need when you are ill. It seems to me the problem is the tariff combined with the 4 hr a&e target - which incentives hospitals to admit everyone - and press the cash register button. overloading the local health economies finances. well dont change the system change the incentives. get rid of the 4 hr target or only hold it for minor walk in cases, get rid of tariff, employ more generalists and acute physicians to get senior decision makers assessing patients on arrival and stop bed blocking. Leave primary care to deal with non acute illness, chronic disease management, low level mental health work and health promotion/screening/vaccination.

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  • Completely agree with anon 4:37. Hospital is over specialised and no incentive or means to dis hate early to community. And not enough resource in community to do this! The whole system must adapt it's not appropriate to work gps to death

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  • It must be great to make these sweeping statements when you are a very very very part-time GP.

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  • "I think we can do this. In fact we have to do it because otherwise NHS is not sustainable"

    Sustaining the NHS is not my job, and I certainly won't be sacrificing my health to do it.

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  • Maybe we could just educate the public that Accident and Emergency - means accidents and genuine emergencies, not cough and cold.

    Reduce demand, not provide evermore access.

    Most A&Es are full of Alcohol related problems, esp Friday/Sat nights, and the worried well with cough/colds and sore throat that could wait until the morning to be seen.

    Keep opening more capacity - and weekends will be full, so then next call will be open 24hrs as A&E too busy overnight.

    The NHS can't afford to provide more money for essential things like operations and cancer drugs, why in times of Austerity should we be wasting money for non essential care.

    Bite the bullet and tell patients to self care, and wait for usual surgery opening hours.

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  • At the risk of making another sweeping generalisation, I would contend that politicians tend to be bullies and the only way to deal with bullies (and their lackeys) is to stand up to them.

    What exactly are GPs, and our leaders in particular, so scared of?

    Do you really think we are so easy to replace?

    What is so wrong in exploring alternative options, including opting out of the NHS and offering our services as truly independent contractors?

    The shibboleth will be of course that we will accused of disadvantaging our patients -- which is a somewhat puerile suggestion, given that there are many and diverse health systems which function perfectly well, including European health care which seems to deliver better health outcomes in many areas such as cancer.

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  • How can something be WORSE than 7 day working ?
    Is the Government going to invent an 8th day just for GPs to work through as well ?

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