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Most patients satisfied with GP opening hours, shows survey

Fewer than one in five patients are dissatisfied with their GP opening hours, a Labour Party survey has shown.

The analysis of the 2012/13 GP patient survey of 971,000 people found that 83% of patients were happy with their practices’ opening hours.

The report found that people living in the London commuter areas, such as Slough, Ealing, Harrow and Thurrock were the least satisfied, with 26% of Slough residents expressing dissatisfaction.

Of those who were dissatisfied, 72% said they would like their surgeries open on Saturdays, 70% would like evening opening and around a third each said they would like practices open before 8am and on Sundays.

Labour claims that the number of people dissatisfied with opening hours has risen by 6% in the past year.

This comes as NHS England has announced that this year’s GP contract negotiations will focus on ensuring patients have ‘good access’ to GPs as a way of reducing the pressure on urgent care services.

Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s shadow health minister, said: ‘Millions of people want to be able to book an appointment with a GP outside of normal working hours. It’s hard to take time off during work, and many people also have to commute or pick their children up after school.

‘Ministers should also instruct NHS England to ensure all CCGs act on patients’ concerns about getting an appointment and give this issue the priority it deserves.’