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Welsh surgeries to open more hours in £16m deal

25 September 2008

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A £16m deal for doctors in big Welsh practices means that surgeries will be able to open for more hours a day.

Health officials could not say how many surgeries would be extending their opening hours, or for how long, only that it is up to the 22 local health boards to negotiate with practices.

The money, on top of the general medical budget of £430m, includes £5m of “efficiency savings” and £4.8m to take account of population growth and drug-price rises.

Welsh ministers have been keen to avoid the kind of row the Department of Health had with the BMA over extending opening hours in England.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “In particular, LHBs will be able to negotiate with practices so that more surgeries offer more convenient opening hours for all, especially for patients that traditionally find it difficult to attend during normal hours.”

Welsh GP committee chairman Dr David Bailey said: “The new menu of services means GPs will be able to use their expertise to provide more specialist care for those patients that require it.

“GPC Wales also supports Welsh practices moving as soon as possible to a position where patient access is possible throughout the core hours.”

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