Devon MP criticises Government for 'attacking' GPs

Dr Sarah Wollaston, chairwoman of the Health Select Committee. Credit: PA

A Devon MP has criticised the Government for urging GPs to extend their opening hours to reduce pressure on Accident and Emergency departments.

Chair of the Health Select Committee and MP for Totnes, Sarah Wollaston says the Government has 'failed to grasp the scale of the increase in complexity of cases facing doctors'.

It comes as the Government urges GPs to roll out a seven day service to help relieve pressure on crisis-hit A&E departments.

Downing Street said that patients who cannot get appointments out of working hours are seeking help in A&Es putting pressure on the NHS.

Hospitals in our region continue to see high volume of patients. Credit: PA

Figures from the National Audit Office suggest that almost half of GPs (46%) are closed during core hours and 18% are closed at or before 3pm on at least one weekday.

The government is reaffirming its pledge to patients to roll out a seven-day service despite GPs calling it "unrealistic" and warning it could damage the quality of care.

Speaking out on social media, the Conservative MP said it was 'beyond belief that anyone would think that attacking overstretched & demoralised primary care would serve any purpose whatsoever'.

The Government says that so far 17 million patients have benefited from extended access to appointments and that it is committed to increasing the numbers of doctors in general practice by around 5,000 by 2020.