The prime minister Theresa May has vowed that all doctor’s surgeries in England will open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, unless they can prove there is no demand from patients. But, the doctors leaders have refused to agree with the demand of Theresa May to open GP surgeries seven day a week, saying that GPs are already struggling to cope with existing patient demand.
Downing Street threatened to withdraw funding if surgeries in England refuse to move to 8am to 8pm opening times, seven days a week. The British Medical Association (BMA) has hit back angrily and accused Prime Minister for using GPs as a "scapegoats” rather than addressing the underlying problem of chronic under-funding in the healthcare system.
Theresa May has expressed frustration at the failure of more GP practices to offer extended opening hours, saying the failure has add more pressures on overstretched hospitals and A&E departments.
The chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes said the Prime Minister's intervention was “extremely unfortunate” and called the schemes were “misguided”.
She said the RCGP team and GPs are struggling to handle the increasing patient demand without sufficient investment, and without nearly enough family doctors and practice staff to deal with it. This problem is not just in during the winter; it is a yearlong problem for RCGP.
The BMA GP committee chairman, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the GP practices were facing a “major alert” with one in three GP practices reporting vacant positions while eight in ten said they were unable to provide safe care to the patients.
He further added that the GPs were already delivering care 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and all GP practices must have measures in place for out-of-hours patient care. The crisis in the NHS won’t be solved by scapegoating or deflecting blame on to GPs.
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