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Incentives “will not persuade” GPs to extend hours

23 November 2007

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A new survey reveals that 25% of GPs would not open their surgeries for longer hours regardless of what incentives they were offered.

GPs have come under fire in recent years after a new contract introduced in 2004 allowed them to opt out of providing out-of-hours care in return for an average £6,000 drop in salary.

However, both Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson have said patients must be given access to GP care at more flexible times.

The GP Newspaper survey of 517 doctors found that a quarter believed nothing would encourage them to open for extended hours.

And some of those polled said they valued the end of 24-hour responsibility that the new contract has delivered.

A total of 63% of GPs questioned said that they would only open for extended hours if funded, with 22% specifying that the extra cash would have to be “considerable”.

However, one GP was adamant that he would not extend his hours.

He said: “No payment or penalties would make me work out of hours again.

“I did many years on call at nights and weekends. I voted for this contract to get out of out-of-hours and I will never work it again.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

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