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Baker: 20,000 more GPs and practice staff needed for seven-day working

The Government’s plans for seven-day working in general practice would require 10,000 more GPs and another 10,000 nurses and practice staff, the RCGP chair has claimed.

Dr Maureen Baker said that the plans would require an extra £1bn of funding as GPs are already ‘beseiged’ and working ‘11 to 12 hour days’.

Speaking in an interview with Sky News, Dr Baker said: ‘If we were to move to seven days a week we would need 10,000 more GPs. We probably need the same number of practice nurses and a proportionate number of support staff.

She added: ‘We know our colleagues are working 11 to 12-hour days, and that is really difficult to do day after day when it is a job you need to be on top form for. ‘They are feeling pressurised and besieged and looking for a bit of respite.’

‘My fear is the whole of the NHS becomes unsustainable due to the failure to properly invest in general practice.’

GP practices have been asked to submit proposals for ‘innovative’ ways of improving access by February to receive part of a £50m NHS England fund. The fund is designed to follow on from Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of plans to move towards seven-day working last year, and reiterates plans to fund opening on Saturdays and Sundays.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘We have made £50m available to help innovative GPs to extend their services and stay open longer – either on their own or by working with other local practices. We have also asked Health Education England to see how we can get 50% of medical students to become GPs.’