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Posted on 8th February 2017

GP surgeries must open full time or face funding cuts

A deal agreed yesterday will see an extra £88 million funding given to GPs for evening and weekend appointments, however those who close for half a day a week will miss out.

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the new plan will stop surgeries closing during working hours and create more appointments for millions of patients.

Last month the A&E crisis forced Theresa May ordered GP surgeries to open longer after blaming those practices who shut early for the chaos in hospitals.

Last month The National Audit Office found that 46 per cent of England’s 8,000 GP surgeries closed during the working day, even though most of them were getting extra cash for offering out-of-hours appointments.

Mr Hunt said: “We are concerned the variation in opening hours across the country, including the fact that almost half of surgeries closed for periods during the normal working week, means some patients cannot access the appointments they need." 

5,882 surgeries get £15,000 each for opening in the evenings and weekend. From October, this funding will be withheld from surgeries that close for half a day a week.

The new rule has been praised by the British Medical Association who say doctors will get extra £239 million and a 1 per cent pay rise.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA GP committee, said: “The changes will provide stability and respite for GP practices by reducing bureaucracy and providing financial relief in key areas.”

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