The magazine for GPs, Pulse, has revealed that nearly half of the GP surgeries that began opening during the evenings and at weekends, as part of a pilot scheme, have cut their hours.
Eight of the 18 pilot areas, which were given shares of £50 million by the Government last year, have either reduced their opening hours or simply reverted to their normal working hours due to a lack of patients.
The scheme saw surgeries from across England given access to the funds as part of the Government pledge for a “24/7 NHS” by 2020. It would seem that, in some areas at least, there is little or no requirement for GP appointments outside of normal office working hours and questions will be asked as to whether a round-the-clock NHS is an effective use of scarce resources.
However, the Department of Health has stressed that the pilot scheme only encompasses a limited number of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, dismissing Pulse’s findings as “anecdotal”.
Gemma is a solicitor with Stephensons' specialist clinical negligence team. For more information or to speak to one of our legal experts, please call: 01616 966 229