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GPs’ surgeries to open all hours in £50m reforms

Millions of patients will be able to see their GPs in evenings and on weekends with £50m of government funding made available to extend opening times, it is to be announced.

David Cameron will say on Monday that more than 7.5 million people will be offered increased access to GP services through extended opening times and new consultation methods using Skype, email and phone.

The £50m GP Access Fund will mean that patients at 1,147 GP practices across England will be able to see their family doctor outside normal working hours, including late-night and weekend appointments or use one of the modern consultation tools for convenience.

It was originally thought that around 500,000 people would benefit from the changes but due to high levels of interest it has been rolled out to cover more GP services.

Cameron will also announce plans to enhance care services for elderly people.

About 800,000 people over the age of 75 and those with more serious health complaints will get tailored care, co-ordinated by just one local GP.

The health minister, Norman Lamb told the Telegram: “It’s very difficult for people with busy lives to get appointments with GPs so let’s just get smarter with the use of technology.”

He said: “We have got to break away from this treadmill of the 10-minute appointment which drives GPs crazy and which leaves patients often frustrated.”

Lamb added that as older people became more tech-savvy, the use of email and video chat would help people who were too busy to attend face-to-face consultations.

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