Seven-day GP opening had ‘no impact’ on emergency admissions or out of hours

Extending access to routine general practice across seven days had ‘no demonstrable impact’ on either emergency admissions or out-of-hours services, NHS England’s final evaluation of the first £50m wave of pilots has concluded.

Minor illness attendance at A&E departments reduced in 13 of the 20 pilot areas analysed by 14% on average, saving a total £1.9m, said the report.

Of the £60m spent on pilots up until September 2015 (which included central funding and CCG additions), £18m were spent on extended hours, £25m on ‘other enhanced primary care initiatives’ and £17m on infrastructure such as IT and project management.

The average cost per total additional extended hour was around £215, while the average cost per available appointment ‘was typically around £34’.

The analysis, which comes as NHS England has already allocated £6 per patient for all CCGs to roll out GP appointments in evenings and weekends from April 2019, calculated that ‘the annual cost per registered patient to support additional extended hours is £5.60’.

A Pulse analysis revealed last month that at least £1.5bn will be ploughed into extending GP access by 2021, but the Conservatives will still not be able to deliver 8-8, seven day access to all patients by 2021 in line with their manifesto.

Full story Pulse 24 November 2016