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Thursday, 25 September 2008

GPs work extra hours for their patients

This week's announcement on extended opening hours for GP surgeries is good news for patients and profession alike.

For months GPC Wales – the body that discusses these issues with the Welsh Assembly Government on behalf of the profession – has been discussing how best to serve our patients.
GPs' surgeries in Wales will now able to open in the evening and at weekends in return for extra funding. Because for all the anti-GP nonsense that has been dished-out recently, on the whole, GPs accept that for some it is difficult to attend appointments during working-hours.

But this announcement is more than just about hours. The deal includes a new "menu" of enhanced services for people with diabetes, the homeless, asylum seekers and refugees and for care home residents.

Devolution is a developing process but as Dr David Bailey, the chairman of the GPC Wales, says the consultation and collaboration between doctors and the Welsh Assembly Government on this issue is far more constructive than the gun-against-the-head, take-it-or-leave-it option presented to GP colleagues in England.

GPs will actually be getting a better service in Wales because the Welsh Assembly Government has been reasonable, focused and committed to working with the profession, in trying to deliver a service which is as close as possible to what GPs deliver in the normal working day.

It just goes to show that BMA Cymru Wales has been saying for some time - many of the answers to the vexed questions of how to deliver healthcare services lies with doctors.
The challenge to politicians is to work with and trust the profession to assist in identifying the answers.

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