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GP out-of-hours services suffer 9% real-terms funding cuts

Real terms spend on GP out-of-hours services were cut by 9% in the five years between 2009/10 and 2013/14, it has been revealed.

Responding to a question from Jamie Reed MP, a Labour Party shadow health minister, health minister Dr Daniel Poulter confirmed that spend had reduced in real terms from £403.8m to £368.8m. In cash terms the drop was about 1%, to £399.4m, figures from the Health and Care Information Centre showed.

Dr Poulter claimed that the Government is now spending more money on improving access to GP services in evening and weekends, via the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

He said: ‘In addition, the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund is making available £50m this year and £100m next year to improve access to general practitioners.’

The deadline to apply for the £100m second wave of challenge fund money is Friday this week (16 January).