Seven-day opening for GP surgeries ‘not achievable’ in South Yorkshire

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni from Crown Street Surgery in Swinton.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni from Crown Street Surgery in Swinton.

Over-stretched GPs in South Yorkshire will not be able to deliver Government plans for surgeries to be open seven days a week, it has been claimed.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, a partner at Crown Street Surgery in Swinton and South Yorkshire British Medical Association spokesman, said proposals for a recruitment drive to increase the number of GPs will not address the extra amount of work the Government is expecting of medical practices.

It comes as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to recruit a further 5,000 GPs.

Dr Kasaraneni said: “Surgeries across the country are struggling with the normal five-day working week.

“It doesn’t make sense when we have a recruitment crisis in Yorkshire and The Humber.”

He said he was also concerned at the Government’s idea of bringing in ‘physician associates’, who are less qualified than doctors and work under their supervision in supporting with the diagnosis and management of patients.

Dr Kasaraneni said: “It is an unknown quantity and it is difficult to see whether these physician associates will fit into general practice without knowing the details. There are questions over what is going to be required of them.

“There are 40,000 GPs struggling with five-day working – adding 1,000 physician associates isn’t going to make up for the extra 40 to 50 per cent capacity Jeremy Hunt says he is going to provide.”

Mr Hunt announced a recruitment drive to secure a ‘dramatic’ 10 per cent increase in GPs, in a move to deliver the seven-day service.

The Health Secretary said he wanted to create flexibility for working patients and allow vulnerable people to have longer appointments, as he encouraged medical graduates to become family doctors.

He said general practice was more important now than ever before as the NHS faced unprecedented pressures due to its rapidly ageing population and patients with increasingly complex needs.

The plans came under attack from Dr Porter, the British Medical Association’s (BMA) council chair.

He said the pledges from the Government have ‘barely the detail to fill a Post-It note’.

Dr Porter said: “They talk about GPs doing even more, when thousands already work in out-of-hours services, propping up the NHS.

“How will these new GPs be ready to start work in five years’ time when it takes 10 years to train a GP?

“How are they even going to recruit more GP trainees when hundreds of existing training posts are still unfilled?”