Response to David Cameron 8-8 7/7 GP access pledge

Mr Cameron,

We listened with interest this morning to your political sound biting on your General Practice vision for 8-8 working, 7 days a week.

To be honest, we had been expecting this baloney for some months as your pilots for the scheme draw to a close. What's more interesting, is that having pump primed these pilots with £50m (half of what you are offering to roll it out across the country), they have failed to deliver the reductions in A&E attendance or quality as promised. More importantly, these beleaguered services actually struggled to find any GPs to provide the service, despite having big money to play with. Not surprisingly you brushed over the lack of evidence to show that these ill advised, vote winning policies actually brought benefit to a system that tries to match cost effectiveness against consumerist demand.

In your closing speech, you pledged more funds for the NHS. Let us remember, before the last election the Conservative party promised no reorganisation of the NHS. They failed to keep that promise. How can we be asked to believe that current election promises will be kept and where are all these GPs going to come from, to deliver this 24/7 service?
However, rather than try and argue those old chestnuts, perhaps we should just stick to the facts, although we appreciate politicians are not great fans of fact over fiction.

- The NHS costs £113bn per year
- Primary Care currently uses 8% of the budget - remember here please that we are constantly being slated for being unable to provide an effective and timely service, even with this percentage and we are consistently pressing for at least 10% of the budget to sustain current levels of service.
- However, using 8%, the Primary Care budget is in the order of £9bn per year
- GP practices currently open 8-6.30 5 days a week or 52.5hrs
- If practices opened 8-8 7 days a week this would be 84 hrs or a 60% increase in hours per week

You have pledged an extra £100m for this increase in hours. This equates to 1.1% increase in Primary Care funding for a 60% increase in workload.

Do the maths, as your advisors obviously can't! Forget the rhetoric and the arguments about doctor salaries, this fairy tale is simply not deliverable.

Resilient GP

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