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GP opening hours put to the test in patient survey

PUBLISHED: 11:33 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:14 07 September 2010

WHILE not exactly a ringing endorsement for polyclinics, a Haringey patient survey has highlighted one important area of public concern. Satisfaction with GP surgery opening hours is lowest among full time workers, with almost half of respondents in thi

WHILE not exactly a ringing endorsement for polyclinics, the Haringey patient survey has highlighted one important area of public concern. Satisfaction with GP surgery opening hours is lowest among full time workers, with almost half of respondents in this group saying that they have problems seeing a doctor during normal practice hours because they cannot take time off work.

Of course, should local surgeries be closed down in the seemingly unstoppable drive towards supersized health centres, this level of concern may actually increase. Many full-time workers would have to travel longer distances from their places of work, making it even more difficult for them to take time out. This is just one of the points conveniently overlooked by Haringey's Teaching Primary Care Trust in its predictably enthusiastic response to the survey, carried out by the NHS Information Centre.

In fact this section of the survey points up a problem that no-one seems serious about solving, namely that a lot of people spend more of the day at the office than they do at home, and are likely to need ready access to doctors convenient to both their home and place of work.

In the absence of dual accessibility, the ability to book an appointment in the evenings or at weekends would be an improvement on the current situation, although again, this is a service that could be offered in existing practices with some careful investment and a little reorganisation .

Overall, the survey shows that 77 per cent of Haringey residents are content with GP opening hours, which is a fairly stunning approval rating by any standards. It takes a considerable amount of spin to translate that into a public clamour in favour of polyclinics!

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