GPs would need an extra £40 per head of population to be able to open their surgeries for longer during the week and at weekends, according to a GP commissioning leader.
President of the National Association of Primary Care Dr James Kingsland said that in order to allow all GP surgeries to open to patients from 8am to 8pm seven days a week the Government would need to move £2bn in NHS funding into primary care.
His own practice in Merseyside has recently taken part in a pilot with £30 per head of population non recurrent funding from Wirral CCG to ‘describe what a “never full” practice looks like’.
Dr Kingsland says that the evidence gathered from this work showed that an extra £15 was needed to offer patients extended hours during the week, £20 for the weekends and £5 to cover recruitment and administrative costs.
He told Pulse: ‘£40 per head of population would deliver a 12 hours a day seven days a week access to routine and urgent care.’
Earlier this month the Government set out plans to pilot longer practice hours seven days a week across nine sites covering 500,000 people with £50m of funding.
But Dr Kingsland is critical of the Government’s scheme saying that it was aimed at coming up with new ideas to a problem that has already been solved.
‘We should be building on the best that already exists in general practice, we used to open on Saturday mornings for a reason, all of that knowledge and expertise in demand management is all there in good general practice, this money should be used to build on that,’ he said.
He said that if an additional 2% of funding was moved into general practice then less money would be needed to fund A&E and that walk-in centres would become redundant.