Extended GP Opening Hours Set to Benefit 7 Million
The scheme is in the news again, though, as a higher-than-expected 1,147 surgeries have applied to participate in the endeavour, the BBC reports. Initial interest forecasts expected around five million NHS patients to benefit from the scheme, but according to a Department of Health spokesperson more people are likely to reap the rewards of longer opening hours as more doctors are keen for the fund to be put to work at their surgeries.
"There has been a great response from doctors, with lots of innovative ideas," commented David Cameron. "We will now see over seven million patients given weekend and evening opening hours, alongside more access to their family doctor on the phone, via email or even Skype."
Jeremy Hunt (health secretary) has stated that the fund and the subsequent alterations that will have to be made to accommodate longer opening hours for doctor's surgeries will be "one of the biggest changes that we need to make in our NHS."
Conflictingly, though, the introduction of the fund came after Cameron's removal of the Labour 48 hour policy, where everyone would be able to see a doctor two days after calling for an appointment. However, with this new scheme, the idea is that although there won't be a set time in which the doctor has to see you, the times in which doctors will be available to be seen will increase. That should mean that you can get to see a doctor at a time that both suits you around any working hours, and could be sooner than the two days.
With constantly conflicting news regarding the NHS in our field of sight every day, it's fantastic to see some good news regarding the health service to leave Number 10. "This is an important step and good news for patients," Cameron said - and we're inclined to agree.