Speaking in today’s Guardian on proposals for a 7-day NHS, RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said:
“It’s highly ironic – and extremely worrying – that the Government is hailing seven day working as the solution to making patients safer when, in reality, it could have the opposite effect.
“Seven day access is a good sound bite that might have won votes at the election but at a time when general practice is already creaking at the seams, it is a waste of NHS resources to be offering ear syringing on a Sunday teatime – and it is our routine family doctor service that will suffer.
“Dedicated and hardworking GPs are already going all out to provide safe care for their patients with ever-dwindling resources.
“We are over-stretched, over-stressed and overloaded and Ministers are out of touch if they think that routine seven day services are achievable with the current resource and workforce pressures facing our profession.
“If the Government doesn’t shore up existing GP care as a top priority, general practice will be completely decimated and we won’t be able to deliver a five day service for our patients, let alone seven day access.
“We urgently need the Government to prioritise and invest in general practice – including at least 5000 more GPs for England over this Parliament – so that we can guarantee our patients safe care in the community and alleviate pressure on hospitals.”
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Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.