Health & Fitness

Major change to GP services will see worst performing named and shamed

ENGLAND’S worst-performing GP surgeries will be named and shamed in new NHS data today as medics are urged to vote down a bid to cut working hours.

Labour said shorter clinics are the “last thing patients need” as figures are set to reveal the areas with the worst waits.


New statistics will show a practice-by-practice breakdown of waiting times for appointmentsCredit: Getty

NHS bosses are now asking patients to use the 111 online service this winter to reduce pressure on frontline doctors.

A motion at a conference of local medical committees will today ask members to vote on cutting core hours from 8am-6.30pm to 9am to 5pm.

The same proposal was voted down by 61 per cent at a meeting in May.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting told The Sun: “GPs must reject these proposals to slash their working hours. 

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“I am sure the vast majority know this is the last thing patients need right now.

“Patients are already finding it impossible to see a GP when they need to. 

“Many are forced to turn up to A&E in desperation, while others will have conditions that get missed until it is too late.”

New statistics will show a practice-by-practice breakdown of waiting times for appointments.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I am determined to make it easier for people to get an appointment with their GP practice when they need one.

“This will allow patients to make a more informed choice about the care they receive.”

Family doctors were outraged by the plan to publish the stats and threatened to strike when it was first announced.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We worry that this data will be used to create arbitrary ‘league tables’ that don’t account for different patient demographics and ways of working, leading to undue criticism.”

In a bid to lift pressure off GPs and A&Es, NHS England is urging Brits to use the website this winter unless the patient is seriously injured or their life is at risk.

Some patients could get call-backs or be sent to pharmacies or walk-in centres instead.

Forty per cent of A&E visits are unnecessary and could be solved elsewhere, the NHS estimates.

Medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “NHS 111 online can provide the most appropriate local treatment option for medical issues quickly without needing to leave your home – saving you an unnecessary trip to A&E.

“It is vital that people continue to use A&E and call 999 in an emergency.”

Ambulance statistics show there were record delays in October and crews were unable to respond to one in four 999 calls because they were waiting outside hospitals.

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives said 169,000 hours were wasted waiting to hand patients over to A&E – the highest on record.

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Ministers are considering ditching plans to reform NHS wait targets in a bid to get services back on track.

Hospitals will still be expected to see A&E patients within four hours and find them beds on wards within 12 hours, the Health Service Journal reported.

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