Everyone in England will have access to a GP seven days a week by the year 2020, Prime Minister David Cameron will announce today
The new plan will cost £400m over the next five years, with the first £100m being made available in April next year. The funds will be released to a pilot scheme launched in 2013 to increase healthcare flexibility for 7.5 million patients.
Under the system, practices will come together and take turns to open on Saturdays and Sundays. GPs will also be encouraged to conduct consultations via Skype and email.
In addition to increasing the number of days GPs are available to see patients, the money will be used to extend practice opening hours to 8am-8pm.
"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,” Cameron will say.
"We will also support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer - giving millions of patients better access to their doctor."
He will add the plans will take pressure off accident and emergency wards: "Yes, this costs money, but I actually think it will help take the pressure off a key part of the system."