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‘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.