Suffolk GPs debate opening hours

SUFFOLK GPs are preparing to debate controversial changes to their opening hours today.

SUFFOLK GPs are preparing to debate controversial changes to their opening hours today.

The government wants doctors surgeries to open for longer, offering evening and weekend appointments to patients.

The move has sparked protests from GPs and tomorrow Suffolk's Local Medical Committee (LMC) will be meeting to listen to the views of doctors in the county.

Bill Robinson, chief executive of the LMC, said: “The meeting is just about the government's proposals.


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“It is such a serious matter that we believe we need to see GPs individually. We haven't called a meeting on a national issue since the new GP contracts in 2004 so this is important.

“This will be an opportunity for GPs from around Suffolk to express their views. People are coming from all parts of the county because many of them are concerned about the changes.

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“We will give them a presentation about the present situation and will see what response we get.”

Last week health secretary Alan Johnson wrote to each GP nationally asking them to agree to longer opening hours, including evenings and weekends.

Mr Johnson said in return he would invest £100million into GP practices which would see a typical three-GP surgery getting an extra £12,000 for staying open three hours a week more.

The Department of Health has said that more than six million patients were unhappy with their surgery opening hours.

In addition to Wednesday's meeting, which will take place at Trinity Park in Ipswich, doctors in Suffolk will also have the opportunity to express their views through a national poll which is being conducted this month by the British Medical Association's GP committee.

Would you like longer opening hours at your GP surgery? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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