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Waiting time league tables threat to practices

by in News

NewsLeague tables of practice waiting times are set to be published in a bid to pressurise GPs to extend their working days, it emerged yesterday.

The move outraged GP leaders, who said the government had failed to provide the extra doctors needed to reduce their waiting times.

It was announced by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, speaking to MPs on the House of Commons public accounts committee.

He indicated that the government will use the proposed co-located primary care centres in hospitals to claim it has achieved seven-day access to GPs.

But practices will face a new target to achieve week-day opening by 8pm by 2019.

Mr Stevens said: “We will start collecting that data later this year and we want to publish those so people can see what different waiting times are.

“It will be good for patients, it will be good for GPs.”

But Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams will today see more than 1.3m patients – we are working flat out, delivering the vast majority of NHS patient care, for a fraction of the overall budget.

“We want to do more for our patients, we want to offer more services that our patients will find useful and will be of benefit to their health, but with the intense resource and workforce pressures we are facing, this will simply not be possible.”

She added: “It is essential that any data derived from general practice is used in a meaningful way to inform and improve the health service and the care that patients receive, and is not simply used as a stick to beat hard working GPs and our teams with.”

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