Typical hours when illness strikes is 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. In the US, typical physician hours are 9-5, Monday through Friday.
Although this is changing (CVS Minute Clinics have Saturday and Sunday hours), it is still difficult for individuals who are work and are ill to see a doctor without taking time off for work.
In England, however, this may no longer be an issue. The UK’s National Health Service is planning a pilot program where patients will have access to primary care physicians 7 days per week. Pharmafile reports:
Cameron says: “People need to be able to see their GP at a time that suits them and their family. That’s why we will ensure everyone can see a GP seven days a week by 2020. We will also support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer – giving millions of patient’s better access to their doctor.”
The plans are part of a new GP contract to be announced later today. In April the government launched a £50m pilot scheme where practices in nine key areas of England were able to bid for money in order to open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, in addition to offering Skype consultations.
Despite these plans, fewer physicians in the UK are going into primary care. Thus, will the UK have the staff to fulfill these promises? Will it have the budget since these doctors likely would require salary increases to work nights and weekends?