PM wants longer GP hours

GPs' surgeries should be open from 8am until 8pm, seven days a week, David Cameron said as he announced a £50 million trial to encourage longer opening hours.

BMA: National shortage of GPs already a real challenge

Dr Chaand Nagpaul of the British Medical Association said a national shortage of GPs was already a "real challenge" without the pressure to work additional hours.

Speaking after Prime Minister David Cameron urged longer opening hours for GPs' surgeries, Dr Nagpaul said they are "currently unable to cope with the increased demands of care".

He told ITV News: "These additional hours amount to around a 58% increase on current levels and we really don't have the GPs to meet current demands, let alone an addition 58% increase in hours."

GPs 'cannot do more without the funding to back it up'

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said some GPs are already routinely working 11-hour days and cannot do more "without the funding and resources to back it up".

RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said: "GPs are keen to do more for their patients - with many already working 8-8 and at weekends - but we are heaving under the pressure of ever increasing workloads and diminishing resources, including a chronic shortfall of GPs.

A man has his blood pressure tested.
RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said GPs cannot do more 'without the funding and resources to back it up' Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire

"General practice currently counts for 90% of patient contacts within the NHS yet receives only 9% of the budget.

"We now need the Government to go much further and give general practice its fair share of the NHS budget so that GPs can deliver more care and better access to services for their patients in the community."

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PM: Conservatives need to 'win the trust' of voters

The Conservatives have to "win the trust of the British people" if they are going to remain in power after the 2015 General Election, David Cameron has said.

Speaking after a Daybreak poll showed over half of voters no longer trusted him, the Prime Minister defended his record in Government, saying the Coalition had made difficult but necessary cuts.

However, he also admitted the austerity programme "had not been easy for people".

PM: GP hours pilot scheme 'a very good step forward'

Prime Minister David Cameron told Daybreak the pilot scheme to extend the opening hours of GPs' surgeries is "a very good step forward."

A women has her blood pressure checked.
A pilot scheme where GPs' surgeries open for longer hours has been announced by the Prime Minister. Credit: Uli Deck/DPA/Press Association Images

He continued, "It will also help hard-working people who often want to go to see a GP but find it difficult to get off work in order to do so."

Labour: GP announcement 'major admission of failure'

David Cameron and the Tories are taking the NHS backwards and this announcement is a major admission of failure and a U-turn of fairly epic proportions.

Under the Tories, hundreds of GP surgeries are shutting their doors earlier after David Cameron scrapped Labour's successful extended opening scheme.

Patients are also finding it harder to get appointments, and turning to A&E instead, after he removed Labour's guarantee of an appointment within 48 hours.

So I sincerely hope Jeremy Hunt isn't expecting applause on GP hours given how they have taken the NHS backwards from the position they inherited from Labour.

– Andy Burnham, Shadow health secretary

Read: Cameron says patients could speak to doctors on Skype

GPs 'need to find new ways of working' to help patients

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on GPs "to find new ways of working" in a bid to create greater flexibility for patients.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will talk about the government's initiative today. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Read: Cameron says patients could speak to doctors on Skype

Mr Hunt, who will be speaking about the government's GP initiative at the Conservative Party conference today, said: "We live in a 24/7 society, and we need GPs to find new ways of working so they can offer appointments at times that suit hard-working people.

"Cutting-edge GP practices here in Manchester are leading the way, and we want many more patients across the country to benefit."

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Doctors could consult patients on email and phone

David Cameron's £50 million trial to encourage GPs' surgeries to open for longer will also look at improving access to doctors.

Patients could speak to doctors on video calls, through emails or on the phone. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Read: Cameron says patients could speak to doctors on Skype

The extra cash from the trial will be offered to groups of GPs proposing the most effective ways to improve access.

As well as extended surgery hours, ministers hope the trial will encourage a more effective use of technology - such as carrying out consultations with patients via video calls, email and phone.

Online appointment booking, electronic prescriptions and allowing people to visit a number of different surgeries across an area are also measures being sought from the first wave.

The first pilot projects are due to be operating by April 2014 with the hope they will be copied widely across the country.

PM: Patients could speak to doctors on Skype

David Cameron has called for "greater flexibility" from GPs, which could see patients contact their doctor on the phone, through an email or on Skype.

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.

We want to support GPs to modernise their services so they can see patients from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

We also want greater flexibility, so people can speak to their family doctor on the phone, send them an email or even speak to them on Skype.

– David Cameron

Cameron: GPs' surgeries should be open longer

GPs' surgeries should be open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm, David Cameron said as he announced a £50 million trial to encourage longer opening hours.

GPs' surgeries will be open longer for those in areas covered by the pilot project. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Around half a million patients are expected to be covered by a pilot project in parts of England as the government seeks to cut pressure on A&E departments.

A recent NHS survey found that almost one in five patients said inconvenient appointments were a concern and 70% backed weekend and after office hours opening.

Read: Chancellor commits to budget surplus even in good times