Jeremy Hunt softens stance on Sunday GP surgeries
Published: 31 May 2016
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted that full GP surgeries are unlikely to be needed on Sundays due to lack of demand.
In an exclusive Q&A with Pulse, Mr Hunt said that although he thinks the public does want Sunday GP appointments, that 'does not mean' provision 'will be the same level' on a Sunday afternoon as busier periods.
Asked why he is continuing to push for Sunday opening despite the official evaluation pointing out the lack of demand for routine GP appointments on Sundays, Mr Hunt responded that it is 'his job' to 'make sure that patients in England have access to consistent, safe and high-quality care'.
He said: 'Expanding GP access is just one part of this because if the NHS is to continue to offer a great service we have to recognise that many people do not want to have to take time off work for a routine appointment.
'According to a YouGov poll in July 2015, a significant majority thinks GP surgeries should offer appointments seven days a week - but that does not mean it will be the same level on a Sunday afternoon as a Saturday morning.'
But the official interim evaluation recommended Sunday opening is ditched due to a lack of demand, with the potential of commissioning extended evening opening or Saturday morning clinics.