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PM vows to follow through with 7 day GP service

Posted on 20/01/2017 by

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It isn’t a surprise to hear that A&E hospital trusts across the UK have a sense of panic, chaos or disruption. Official data revealed by NHS England said that 65 hospital trusts issued warnings of immense pressures, this includes some trusts who declared the highest state of emergency. Could the 7 day GP service relieve stresses on A&E departments? If so, what does this mean for GPs and their staff?

Theresa May has vowed, unless doctor’s surgeries can prove there is no demand for weekend services from patients, all doctor’s surgeries in England will open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. It is believed the 7 day services will ease the critical pressures that hospitals are now facing.

A significant number of GPs support deploying members of their profession in emergency departments to help relieve pressure on hospitals. A Press Association survey of 500 GPs found that 61% said that the move was necessary.

However, the BMA Committee Chairman, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said, GPs are already providing around the clock care, seven days a week. The government also urged to abandon the weekend proposal because of the effect it would have on the mid-week service.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Royal College of GPs, said: “It’s extremely unfortunate that the Prime Minister is being reported as pushing forward with a misguided scheme to force GP surgeries to offer routine services 8-8, seven days a week, regardless of patient demand or local resources”.

There is bound to be a backlash, not just among GPs but other support staff. The extended service will most definitely mean Practice Managers must take on staff to help with the extra hours. It will be difficult to convince staff to commit to weekend schedules. Offering flexible working hours with varying starting and finishing times can be almost impossible to manage in general practice. Increasing patient demand without further investment doesn’t help the issue throughout the year let alone during the winter.   

TPP Health & Social Care are experts in recruiting for temporary and permanent support staff for General Practices. If you would like to discuss recruitment for NHS experienced Receptionists or Secretaries, please do get in touch on 020 7198 6080 or email healthsocialcare@tpp.co.uk.