There must be a “thorough overhaul” of GP services because the system is leading to millions of lost working days, business leaders claims.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said restricted opening times, difficulty in booking appointments, and the “limited number of services on offer” are costing the country more than £1bn.
And people should be able to register at more than one surgery so they can make an appointment nearer to where they work to speed up treatment, it added.
The CBI surveyed 1,000 adults and discovered one in three have found it difficult to book an appointment with a doctor at a convenient time.
Deputy director-general John Cridland said changes are needed to tackle the 175 million days being lost every year because of ill-health.
“We need a GP service that fits around people’s lives, offering convenience and flexibility,” he said.
The report also calls for more primary care services to be made available over the counter from qualified pharmacists, walk-in centres or other sites such as shops or railway stations.
And it says new providers should be able to enter the market to deliver services in areas with too few doctors.
A Department of Health spokesman said it welcomed the CBI’s contribution to the debate on improving GP services.
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“I think most patients want to see their usual doctor, or at least someone they know in their practice. They don’t want that person to be so tired that he makes a mistake. Also, support services such as phlebotomy and X-rays are not available outside normal working hours, so the patient will have to come back anyway. Do they propose to extend their working hours too? – Name and address supplied
“I think most patients want to see their usual doctor, or at least someone they know in their practice. They don’t want that person to be so tired that he makes a mistake. Also, support services such as phlebotomy and X-rays are not available outside normal working hours so the patient will have to come back anyway. Do they propose to extend their working hours too?” – Name and address supplied
“Does this need to be turned on its head so that employers permit their workers to visit GPs during working hours if they are ill? Employers are obliged to be family friendly, should they not be looking after the health of their employees as well” – Name and address supplied
“I think family doctors should call for a “thorough overhaul” on the CBI report writing on subjects it clearly doesn’t fully understand! The report sets out a flawed analysis of a problem that isn’t a problem for the vast majority of patients. I respect Jim Henson too much to say it was written by muppets, but I think you get my drift. If the CBI were truly interested in the health of the workforce it should get behind the five lots of 30-minute exercise per week campaign and lead by example” – Richard Ward, Practice Manager, Devon