Extending the opening times of GP surgeries will not rectify problems in the delivery of primary care, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland has cautioned the government, following the publication of a new report from the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee.
The report - What should primary care look like for the next generation? Phase II – says primary care requires “radical revision”. Among the recommendations in the report is extending opening times.
“The days of the 9-5 service, five days a week in primary care should be consigned to history,” it states.
Commenting on the recommendation, Dr David Shackles, joint chair of RCGP Scotland said: "GPs and the wider multidisciplinary primary care team work exceptionally hard, day in, day out, to meet the varied and complex needs of their patients. While we agree that improvements can and should be made to ensure that primary care can deliver patient-centred care now and in the future, it is simply not the case that this will be achieved by extending the opening times of GP surgeries."
“This recommendation by the committee also does not reflect the hard work of our colleagues in the out of hours service who ensure that primary care in Scotland is available to patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Dr Shackles added.
The report also refers to plans to increase GP numbers and says the proposed increase in GP numbers should instead be spread across the entire multidisciplinary team (MDT).
It says the commitment to increase GP numbers reflects the situation before the new contract, which puts greater emphasis on the MDT.
“We recommend this commitment is recast, to commit to an appropriate number of MDT professional staff, including both GPs and other professions, which can deliver the intended benefits to primary care as a whole,” the report states.
However, Dr Shackle said the College “will continue to work collaboratively with all partners to ensure that the target of increasing the GP workforce by 800 by 2027 is reached”.