This site is intended for health professionals only

Tory GP says seven-day general practice pledge ‘completely unrealistic’

Conservative MP and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has publicly confronted the Government on its pledge for routine seven-day general practice by 2020, calling it ‘completely unrealistic’.

Dr Wollaston, who chairs the House of Commons health committeee, said the focus of introducing a seven-day NHS had to be to reduce avoidable deaths rather than the ‘convenience’ of patients. She said this was not a realistic priority with the size of the current GP workforce.

The Conservative Government has pledged to provide routine seven-day a week access to GPs for everyone by 2020.

Via Twitter, Dr Wollaston said: ‘Given the scale of workforce shortfall in primary care, seven-day GP service as presented to the public looks completely unrealistic to me I’m afraid.

‘We don’t have enough GPs to be able to prioritise convenience, seven-day access priority should be reduce avoidable deaths/late diagnosis/admission.’

The tweets come as Dr Wollaston made similar remarks in an exclusive interview with Pulse before the general election.

The health committee has just launched an inquiry into general practice, due to take evidence during the autumn, the scope of which includes considering plans for seven-day access.

Defending the seven-day policy last week, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said GPs had to consider patients in manual labour on hourly wages who could not take time out of work without sacrificing salary.

Complete relevant Practice business and finance CPD modules on Pulse Learning by registering for free, or upgrade to a premium membership for full access at only £89 a year.