Most GP practices are failing to offer extended opening hours, government figures have shown.
Under new plans, areas under the jurisdiction of a care trust commissioner are required to have half their GP practices offering extended opening hours.
However, only 23% (35 commissioners) have achieved this while 26% (40 commissioners) had no practices at all offering extended opening hours, according to Department of Health statistics.
In total, just 2,329 practices (28%) of 8,292 practices were offering extended opening hours in June, with the average percentage of GP practices offering extended hours within each commissioner area coming in at just 27%.
PCTs in the South East Coast of England had the most practices offering extended opening and the South West the fewest.
The news comes as a York surgery openly defied government calls for it to open for extended hours.
The Jorvik Medical Practice, which has surgeries in Stonebow and South Bank, said it had decided not to offer longer opening hours for the present.
It told patients in a newsletter that the proposals “lacked flexibility and common sense” because the hours had to be in addition to those already offered.
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“I think this will remain low. Most surgeries in Worcestershire are open from 8.00am the morning until 6.30pm from Monday to Friday. The OOH Service then takes over – I mean, how much can we offer for goodness’ sake? Do they want us to ‘Live-In’ now? As things stand at present with other demands on the practice by the government, I feel I may as well bring my bed down here!!” – Teresa Dudley, Kidderminster