GPs face Saturday opening in new contract imposition

4th March 2022 by NASGP

GPs face Saturday opening in new contract imposition

GPs in England must open Saturdays according to the government’s new GP contract for 2022/3, Pulse reports.

In a noteworthy change among several, from Saturday 1 October primary care networks (PCNs) will be required to provide a full range of services from 9am to 5pm. The contract contains no detail on how this new enhanced service will be funded.

As a consequence, one of the GP Committee (GPC) negotiators has called for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in NHS England leadership.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “On first inspection, this is a great crowdpleaser, and no doubt we will hear this spun out at the next general election.

“But even slightly scratching the surface on this one, it just does not compute. General practice does not need to be stretched out any  more thinly; it needs more capacity. Shuffling appointments around six days instead of five days does not increase the number of appointments, and will have no impact on waiting lists.

“The biggest threat to the NHS is the welfare of its workforce, and with over 100,000 staff vacancies across the NHS reported only this week, to rob us of our weekends when we need to unwind with family and friends and do the Park Run, is yet another disincentive for young GPs to take up partnership or salaried positions when we desperately need to recruit into these posts.

“This needs a lot more thought. We need to tackle the known capacity issue first, whereas we know previous measures to tackle access have not succeeded.”

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