GPs vote to cut hours to 9am to 5pm saying long days 'discriminate' against those with families

The move could see GP practice hours reduced by 2.5 hours

Published

GPs have voted to cut their working hours to 9am to 5pm, a reduction of two and a half hours, after saying long days discriminate against those with families.

After voting in favour of reducing their working day, doctors will lobby the NHS in a bid to change the opening hours in general practice.

Currently general practice opens at 8am and closes at 6:30pm.

The motion was tabled on Thursday by Dr Paul Evans, from Gateshead and Tyneside LMC. He said the current working hours indirectly discriminate against GPs with families.

“I know too many GPs who have quit their partnerships, their salaried jobs or who are just coming out of training who are not prepared to take on a permanent role because of the hours and because they cannot see a way to make it work with childcare opening hours and with family life,” he told the English Local Medical Committees (LMC) conference.

In March 2022, GPs voted against cutting core hours, with delegates arguing it should be a matter for individual nations.

In contrast, the meeting of English LMCs voted in favour of the motion by 147 votes to 84. Negotiations with NHS England are likely to take place in April 2023.

It comes as GP practices could be named and shamed as new league tables are set to show the surgeries offering the least number of appointments.

The Government said the statistics, which will be published on the NHS Digital website, would help patients make “more informed choices” about the practice they choose.

It will help “improve transparency about performance”, officials said.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “We promised to prioritise patients and improve access and that is exactly what we have done – and this is just the start.

“I am determined to make it easier for people to get an appointment with their GP practice when they need one and this will allow patients to make a more informed choice about the care they receive.”

Health Secretary Steve Barclay
Health Secretary Steve Barclay

New figures released also reveal GPs carried out record numbers of appointments in England in October with the highest proportion of patients being seen face to face since the start of the pandemic.

Data from NHS Digital shows that 32.0 million appointments were carried out that month, the highest number in records going back to November 2017.