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GPs hit back at Prime Minister’s extended hours ‘fairy tale’

A group of 100 GPs have hit back at Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to introduce an 8am till 8pm, seven days a week GP service pointing out the offer amounts to a 60% increase in hours for a 1.1% budget increase.

The Resilient GP group, who aim to support GPs and protect them from burnout, collected signatures from fed-up GPs for an open letter to Prime Minister asking him to ‘do the maths’.

The letter explains that the extended hours pilots, primed with £50m from the PM’s Challenge Fund, have failed to deliver reduced A&E attendances and in many areas have yet to begin.

It adds: ‘Rather than try and argue those old chestnuts, perhaps we should just stick to the facts, although I appreciate politicians are not great fans of fact over fiction.

‘If practices opened 8am-8pm, seven days a week this, would be 84 hours or a 60% increase in hours per week.

‘You have pledged an extra £100m for this increase in hours. This equates to 1.1% increase in Primary Care funding for a 60% increase in workload. Do the maths, as your advisors obviously can’t. Forget the rhetoric and the arguments about doctor salaries, this fairy tale is simply not deliverable.’

At the Conservative Party Conference last week, Mr Cameron announced that everyone will be able to access a GP practice seven days a week – from 8 ‘til 8 – by 2020 if the Conservatives are returned to power at the next election, pledging £400m in ‘set up costs’ spread over the next five years to enable everyone to access a GP for 12 hours a day, every day.

Read the letter in full here