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GP surgeries hit opening hours target

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The government has hit its target to get over 50 per cent of GP surgeries offering extending hours to patients.

Figures published by the Department of Health show that in the last six month there has been a 40 per cent rise across the country in the number of practices offering a minimum of three hours extra opening in the early morning, evening and weekend.

Findings also highlighted inconsistencies across England in the provision of extended opening hours - although the Department of Health subsequently admitted that regional information may have been inaccurate.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said that he was confident that all strategic health authorities would have 50 per cent of practices offering extended hours by December 2008-the Department of Health's official deadline.

'It tends to be a virtuous circle in that patients vote with their feet and GP practices have to increase their opening times to attract patients…there will also be the embarrassment factor for primary care trusts to offer extended hours to their patients if the neighbouring PCT is offering it,' he said.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • This an excellent initiative put forward. We all known how reluctant we are to visit the doctors and not having the facility because we cannot get time off work allows us to ignore our health even further. Doctors and Nurses who are involved should also find this a poitive change, as they can be more flexible with their weekly timetable. This surely allows them time to direct towards other areas in their life.

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  • This is an excellent result for the NHS. Lack of out-of-hours GP access had been a common complaint in the NHS for years. It's good that the government has listened and dealt with it. Labour has done many very good things for the NHS that seem to be forgotten in the hyperbole about MRSA, financial crises and killer nurses.

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