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GPs concede to opening hours demands

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GP surgeries will now have to open an extra three hours a week after medical unions backed down to government demands for evening and weekend appointments.
Health secretary Alan Johnson last week wrote to every GP surgery asking for them to provide opening hours to suit the needs of patients.

However the BMA continues to argue that the proposal is unsafe because GPs will have to work on their own late at night. However the committee accepted the deal because it was 'less damaging' than an alternative proposal where PCTs would be able to commission GP services from other providers.

Its GP committee will later this month survey doctors to see if they are in favour of their contract.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairperson of the BMA’s GP committee, said: ‘We believe the impositions as they stand will be unsafe for doctors as they will have to work on their own late at night. Patients also won’t get the full range of services.

‘GPs are willing to do extended hours, we put forward our own proposal in December – we just don’t think the government’s plans as they stand at the moment will be good for general practice or patient care.’
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