Thanks to new funding, one in 10 surgeries will be able to offer patients the choice of seeing a GP at the weekend, online booking, electronic prescriptions and Skype check-ups, David Cameron has announced.
The £50m GPs Access Fund was introduced late last year as a way to combat the growing strains on mainline services like A&E departments. Around 1,000 practices will benefit from the funding, with seven million patients receiving improved care options.
Cameron said: “Back in October, I said I wanted to make it easier for people to get appointments that fit in around a busy working week and family commitments.
“There has been a great response from doctors, with lots of innovative ideas, and we will now see over seven million patients given weekend and evening opening hours, alongside more access to their family doctor on the phone, via email or even Skype.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said the government must be careful that extra access to surgeries is not provided at the expense of availability for the most vulnerable.
He added: “Outside of those signed up to the pilot, there will still be close to 7,000 GP practices across the country who will not be receiving extra support to improve patient access or maintain current services. Furthermore, given that this funding is only for one year, there is no assurance of these changes being affordable in future years.”