‘Not enough GPs to open at weekend’

Lancashire GP Dr David Wrigley
Lancashire GP Dr David Wrigley
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A Lancashire GP has said calls for doctors’ surgeries to open seven days a week are a ‘smokescreen’ to hide the Government’s failings.

Number 10 last week linked the reports of excessive waiting times in accident and emergency departments to GPs not providing a seven-day service.

This plan will only work if there are many more qualified people to do it

But British Medical Association (BMA) deputy chairman and Lancashire GP Dr David Wrigley said: “GPs are already struggling to cope with the Monday to Friday demand with very few resources.

“Lots of practices have vacancies for doctors because junior doctors aren’t choosing the route of general practitioners and if they are, they’re leaving the career early because of the pressures of the job.”

“Doctors are working their socks off and these requests are just a smokescreen to hide the government’s incompetence.”

He was responding to a Downing Street statement saying patients were ‘suffering’ because many surgeries were not offering the access they need.

A Healthwatch Lancashire spokesman said ‘on the face of it’ seven-day access to GPs would be ‘great news’.

But he added: “Most doctors are working flat out already.

“This plan will only work if there are many more qualified people to do it.”