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Sunday opening ‘will fragment care’ warns Meldrum

By Nigel Praities

The BMA has issued a lukewarm response to the Conservative Party manifesto pledge for patients to have access to a local GP seven days a week, warning it will fragment patient care.

The pledge – officially unveiled yesterday – promises access to a local GP from 8am to 8pm every day – including weekends – although GPs will be able to commission other providers to do this.

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum, said the proposals were likely to be a ‘luxury the NHS cannot afford'

‘The idea of being able to see a GP from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week is bound to be popular, and patients deserve good access to GP services, but this shouldn't come at the expense of the quality of a patient's overall care, which is at risk if services become fragmented,' he said.

'It's also a luxury that we may not be able to afford in these financially straightened times.'

Dr Meldrum also criticised all parties for their ‘obsession' with private providers in the NHS, saying they often provided less efficient services.

‘The political parties need to move away from a market model for the NHS in England, as there are some shocking examples of NHS money being wasted through an apparent obsession with the private provision of NHS care,' he said.

Dr Hamish Meldrum Follow the latest with Pulse's election tracker Pulse election tracker