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Longer surgery hours plan is "daft" says GP
6:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Echo News
A FAMILY doctor has criticised David Cameron for his “absolutely daft” proposal to open some surgeries 12 hours a day seven days a week.
Dr Krishna Chaturvedi, a GP in Westcliff, claimed surgeries did not have the manpower to run an around-the clock service. He said the NHS should consider making a small charge for some unscedhuled visits to A&E if Mr Cameron’s plan was to divert patients to GPs rather then hospitals.
The changes proposed by David Cameron at the Tory party conference in Manchester will be trialled at a handful of surgeries next year. Those practices will open from 8am until 8pm and at weekends. Doctors will also offer to consult via email, video-conferencing software like Skype and telephone calls.
The Department of Health will now set aside £50million for GP surgeries who want to apply for money to fund longer hours and new consultation methods.
But Dr Chaturvedi, who sits on the board of Southend Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is not going to cost a lot of money but where would the manpower come from to meet this unreasonable expectation created by our great politicians who do not seem to live in the real world.
“It is absolutely daft. “If GP surgeries are running as our PM wishes us to do, we will need investigations to be done which would be blood tests, X-rays and relevant supporting structure and staff to provide those services.
“Unfortunately we cannot run as Waitrose or Tesco services and cannot have the health services from the 24-hour cash machines.”
“If their only idea is to reduce A&E attendance by doing this, why not ask every one of us to contribute a minimal amount of money for unscheduled attendances.
“We can carry on meeting the demand but not addressing the issue of resources and responsibility to go with it.”
He was backed by Brian Balmer, chair of the South Essex Local Medical Committtee representing GPs.
He said: “In some areas we barely have enough GPs to cover five days a week. This is not about organisation or money, its about our shrinking workforce, and in any case when did the NHS ever say it could provide seven day a week primary care? Who will benefit?”
Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plans at the Tory party conference on Tuesday saying: “Millions of people find it hard to get an appointment to see their GP at a time that fits in with their work and family life.”
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