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Patients are failing to book weekend GP appointments that are being rolled out in a flagship NHS scheme, figures reveal.
In one area, just 3 per cent of Sunday consultations have been filled on average in 18 months.
Regions - Quarter - Slots - Saturdays
Other regions reported a quarter of these slots being taken, although Saturdays were more popular.
Doctors say patients do not want to spend time at weekends seeing a GP and would rather wait until Monday unless it is an emergency.
Average - Cent - Evening - Weekend - Slots
An average of 25 per cent of evening and weekend slots were unfilled over the past 18 months at a cost of at least £15million, according to figures obtained by Pulse, the magazine for GPs.
From today, health trusts across England will have to offer GP appointments seven days a week as part of a pledge by David Cameron.
Minister - GP - Access - Scheme - A
The then-prime minister launched the ‘seven-day GP access scheme’ in 2014 to try to help A&E units and it has been gradually expanded.
But each appointment slot costs the NHS £30 to £50 regardless of whether patients show up or not and doctors have branded the scheme a ‘shocking’ waste of cash.
The figures show...
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