Manchester GP Dr Ivan Benett may have once run as an independent candidate in protest at the Labour Government’s NHS reforms, but his latest brush with politicians has seen him influence the direction of the UK coalition Government with his pilot of a seven-day GP access scheme.
The pilot – hailed as a ‘success’ by the Department of Health before it had even started – gives patients access from 8am to 8pm throughout the week and for three hours on Saturdays and Sundays at local hubs.
Dr Benett has had stiff opposition from local GP leaders, but insists the scheme has cut the number of unnecessary A&E attendances by more than a quarter in three months.
The clinical director for NHS Central Manchester CCG says that we will have to ‘wait and see’ if the pilots are successful long term, but he wants to see the NHS experiment with new ideas.
He says: ‘The absolute bottom line is the sustainability of the NHS. I am driven by a wish to see the NHS work.’