Labour warns GPs must reject a push to reduce their surgery hours to 9am to 5pm and ‘put the interests of patients first’ ahead of vote this week
- GPs are also being asked to back a limit on the number of daily appointments
- The proposals have been tabled by doctors for debate at a national conference
- The group warned that there were not enough GPs to cope with the demand
Family doctors must reject a push to cut their opening hours to 9am to 5pm, Labour warned last night.
This week GPs will vote on reducing their surgery hours, and are being asked to back a limit on the number of daily appointments.
But senior politicians called on doctors to reject the motion and ‘put the interests of patients first’.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Patients are already having to wait unacceptable lengths of time for an appointment, which means illnesses are going undiagnosed and people are going without the treatment they need. Forcing patients to wait even longer cannot be the answer, and I can’t imagine most GPs think it is either.’
Senior politicians called on doctors to reject the motion and ‘put the interests of patients first’ (pictured: Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting)
The proposals have been tabled by a group of doctors for debate at a national conference.
Pushing for reduced workloads, they warned there were not enough GPs to cope with demand. If they succeed, they plan to lobby NHS England to introduce the new hours.
Current ‘core opening hours’ are 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Up to 365 GPs will consider the motion on Tuesday and Wednesday at the annual conference of Local Medical Committees, which represent family doctors’ interests to health authorities.
Those behind it say it will encourage them to stay in the NHS, boost their wellbeing and provide a better service.
But patient groups said the ‘unacceptable’ proposal would leave more people unable to access the care they need. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘GPs have a legal requirement to meet the reasonable needs of their patients during core hours.
‘We are confident our incredibly hard-working GPs will continue to deliver their vital services as we recover from the pandemic. We are supporting GPs by investing £1.5 billion to create an extra 50 million appointments and working with the NHS to improve access, tackle the Covid backlog and grow the general practice workforce.’
Source: Read Full Article