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GP leaders argue for additional funding to open at weekends in Wales

GP leaders in Wales have said they are ‘completely opposed' to extending GP practice opening hours beyond what has been agreed in the UK-wide contract.

GPC Wales chair Dr David Bailey told Pulse that he had recently met with health minister Edwina Hart to inform her that the Labour Party's manifesto pledge to extend GP access from 8am to 8pm on weekdays and Saturday mornings in Wales could not be met by altering the GP contract. 

Dr Bailey, GP in Caerphilly, said: ‘We would not be willing to unilaterally alter the UK-wide GP contract and we have told the minister that clearly.'

'We suggested that if the government wishes to extend hours then it should produce extra investment in out-of-hours organisations and get extra staff to respond to demand at weekends in particular.'

‘We are completely opposed to renegotiating this aspect of the UK wide GP contract and we will not be negotiating on that basis.'

A Welsh Government spokesman said: 'We are committed to introducing more accessible GP services so that working people are able to access local GP services at a time that is most convenient to them. This will help reduce pressure on other health services, such as emergency departments.'

'We're in the process of working with our partners, exploring the best ways forward, including the best timings, for developing these proposals.'

Dr Gillian Breese, a GP in Llandudno, said: ‘I can see resignations if this approved.'