Study says Sunday GP appointments in Britain not fruitful

shutterstock_156022646Appointments on Sundays to see a doctor or a general practitioner (GP) in Brittain are not likely to be very useful to meet medical needs, a new study says.

The study, which considered views of more than 800,000 patients, found that four out of five people are happy with traditional GP opening times and that weekend appointments are wanted most by younger, working people.

It also found that while Saturday appointments are preferable for those who find weekday appointments inconvenient, just two percent would only be able to attend an appointment on a Sunday.

This suggests that Saturday opening, but not Sunday, would meet most people’s needs.

“Weekend working in primary care is a flagship policy of the British government. Their plan is that by 2020, people will have access to GPs seven days a week,” said lead researcher Dr John Ford.

“Some argue that it will reduce pressure on hospitals, while others say that it is un affordable and mismatched with what patients need,” he added.

The study found that majority of people (81 percent) did not find traditional GP opening times inconvenient.

Of the people (15 percent) who said weekend opening would make it easier for them to see a doctor, 74 percent preferred Saturday opening.

Only two percent would only be able to attend an appointment on a Sunday at the weekend.

Younger people, those in full time work or those with certain long term conditions were more likely to use a weekend service.

People with dementia, learning difficulties, problems with walking or dressing, or poor quality of life were less likely to want weekend opening.

“We found that most people do not think they need weekend opening — but it may benefit certain patient groups such as younger people in full time work, and with certain long-term conditions,” Ford said.

The study was published in the British Journal of General Practice.

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