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Tory GP says seven-day general practice pledge ‘completely unrealistic’

Conservative MP and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has publicly confronted the Government on its pledge for routine seven-day general practice by 2020, calling it ‘completely unrealistic’.

Dr Wollaston, who chairs the House of Commons health committeee, said the focus of introducing a seven-day NHS had to be to reduce avoidable deaths rather than the ‘convenience’ of patients. She said this was not a realistic priority with the size of the current GP workforce.

The Conservative Government has pledged to provide routine seven-day a week access to GPs for everyone by 2020.

Via Twitter, Dr Wollaston said: ‘Given the scale of workforce shortfall in primary care, seven-day GP service as presented to the public looks completely unrealistic to me I’m afraid.

‘We don’t have enough GPs to be able to prioritise convenience, seven-day access priority should be reduce avoidable deaths/late diagnosis/admission.’

The tweets come as Dr Wollaston made similar remarks in an exclusive interview with Pulse before the general election.

The health committee has just launched an inquiry into general practice, due to take evidence during the autumn, the scope of which includes considering plans for seven-day access.

Defending the seven-day policy last week, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said GPs had to consider patients in manual labour on hourly wages who could not take time out of work without sacrificing salary.

Readers' comments (32)

  • Good on ya Sarah!

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  • Im beginning to feel like a manual labourer too.

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  • Chief, get out of your wigwam and look at reality - there are lesser numbers of GPs in the field and they also cannot take time out to see their GPs or even spend time with their families without sacrificing salary.
    We know your aim is to chase everybody out so United Health can come into action, but please think again - Is it worth going over dead bodies to pursue a misconceived plan and ruining a great cost effective system that the world looked up to?

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  • Be grateful that it is Sarah Wollaston and not the awful Simon Stevens who has real influence. Anyway I have gone part-time now and so have more or less completely given up caring about these dreadful people any more and it feels marvellous. Strongly recommended to all 50 somethings out there.

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  • Bob Hodges

    This is a welcome diversion from the rest of the Conservatives' public utterances on health and the NHS which have recently achieved the level of 'Peak Bullshit'.

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  • Nothing will change .Conservatives have got majority .They think they have the power to do anything!!!

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  • John Glasspool

    If people are ILL , then they will not be at work. Simple really. Interesting that the Tories are suddenly interested in "poor" people? The never have been before.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Ok . You can fight against the nonsense from inside the establishment . Exactly what can you do to make your party comrades like Darth Vader , GO, Agent Hunt and Harvey Dent , change their bigotry on this ego which can potentially wipe out general practice in NHS once and for all .(Perhaps that is their agenda anyway!)
    The longer you stay in this party , the dimmer and dimmer is the halo on the top of your head, my dear former Jedi.......

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  • Dear Sarah,

    Please tell Jezza. Again and again until his ears bleed. Tattoo the phrase "completely unrealistic" into his forehead with a rusty compass. Make him recite 1000 times "we don't have enough GPs even to maintain current services" to the Tory Party Conference. Then get the DM to print 30 pages of apologies every day for a year.

    Then finally you might have achieved something.

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  • Well done Sarah. Sensible and measured. Staying inside the tent and speaking truth unto power, a proper GP even though she is now an MP.
    What has happened to the petition to Parliament to remove agent Hunt?

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