Seven-day GP services 'are the future'

Dr Jim O'Donnell is a partner at the Farnham Road Surgery in Slough.

It is one of nearly 60 pilot schemes in England which was given extra money by the prime minister's so-called Challenge Fund to open their doors seven days a week.

"We did it because our patients kept asking us: when are you going to give us more appointments, we can never get to see you, it's really hard to get an appointment. So the patients actually designed this."

The seven-day service has been running for just over a year, and provides routine appointments from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays from 8am to 8pm.

Dr O'Donnell says the scheme has proved popular with patients, the public and with GPs, and has reduced unplanned emergency admissions to A&E.

"I think we need to stay with seven-day working... the outcomes for patients are better if we provide a seven-day service."