The prime minister has announced that everyone in England will have access to 'GP services' seven days a week by 2020. What does this mean for men's health?
Firstly, this does not mean that men will have access to their GP or their GP's practice seven days a week. As the BBC's Nick Triggle reports:
Seven-day access does not mean every GP surgery being open. Instead, what has happened in the pilots that have got under way is that surgeries have grouped together to share the responsibility with different practices taking it in turns to open.
We need clarity
Does this make it easier to know how to get a GP after work on a Wednesday or on a Sunday lunchtime?
Some GPs who tried extended opening in recent years found that there was limited demand. The Men's Health Forum believes that there has been little marketing of such services so men have continued to think that A&E is their only option. Will this remain the case if there is uncertainty over which GPs are open on a Sunday and how you find them?
The Men's Health Forum has long highlighted the benefits to men's health if men could visit GPs practices near where they work as well as near where they live. This would particularly benefit men as they are still nearly twice as likely to work full-time and tend to commute further.
The full results from a survey by the HSJ have just been made available to download and show that, for 65% of men, location is the most important factor in GP services, ahead of opening hours (still at 54%). Based on our own work, we were not suprised that only 5% of men in the survey felt the gender of the GP was most important.
- The Men's Health Forum runs Man MOT which enables men in Haringey to chat online to a GP.
- Our chief executive, Martin Tod, recently gave a talk on men and primary care at an event hosted by the European Men's Health Forum.