Prime Minister strives for more flexibility
Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that everyone across England will have access to GP services seven days a week by 2020.
The Conservative leader has announced that a further £100 million from April 2015 will be used towards a fund that was initiated last year to increase flexibility in this area, with government also promising to bring back ‘named GP’s’ to take control of care outside of hospitals.
The £50 million pilot scheme launched last year enabled surgeries across nine areas of England to bid for additional money so that they could open between 8.00am and 8.00pm seven days a week, as well as offer Skype consultations and more phone consultations. Practices can now bid for more funding for 2015/16, with extending to seven day opening across all areas by 2020. The government predicts that this will cost £400 million spread out over the next five years.
More available hours
Mr Cameron told BBC News “People need to be able to see their GP at a time that suits them and their family. That’s why we will ensure everyone can see a GP seven days a week by 2020. We will also support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer – giving millions of patients better access to their doctor.” Mr Cameron has also stated how the move should help take the pressure off struggling A&E departments, providing benefits especially for frail, elderly patients, although The British Medical Association have debated whether this is the best use of stretched resources.
“What we are doing is tried and tested. Seven days, 12-hours a day, good access to your GP. That will be really welcomed by people with young children. I have had four children, one of them desperately ill. I know how important your family doctor service is,” Mr Cameron continued.