The prime minister has announced plans to implement more flexible GP hours, offering evening and weekend slots alongside Skype consultations.
A seven-day pilot scheme will be taking place next year in nine areas as part of a £50 million “Challenge fund”. GP surgeries in the area will be able to bid for funding to open from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.
“Flexible access” is another of the options outlined by David Cameron, who states that patients will be given the opportunity to contact GP services and receive treatment and advice through email, telephone and Skype. It is hoped that this will increase accessibility for patients with mobility issues, and also prove more convenient for patients, fitting into their hectic lives through the medium of technology.
In addition to providing more flexible care, it is also hoped that this will relieve some of the burden on acute hospital and A&E settings.
Commenting on the initiative, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "We live in a 24/7 society, and we need GPs to find new ways of working so they can offer appointments at times that suit hard-working people”.
Whilst the move has been welcomed by GP’s there are fears however that services are already stretched, and that there may not be sufficient resources in place to meet rising demand.
Original Source BBC News
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