Weekend opening in primary care: Analysis of the General Practice Patient Survey

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Background: Seven day opening in primary care is a key policy for the UK Government. However it is unclear if weekend opening will meet patient’s needs or lead to additional demand.
Aim: To identify patient groups most likely to use weekend opening in primary care.
Design and Setting: 881,183 participants in the General Practice Patient Survey 2014.
Method: Logistic regression was used to measure the associations between perceived benefit from seeing or speaking to someone at the weekend and age, sex, deprivation, health conditions, functioning, work status, rurality and quality of life (QoL).
Results: 712,776 participants (81%) did not report any problems with opening times. Of the 168,407 respondents (19%) who reported inconvenient opening times, 74% stated that Saturday opening, and 36% Sunday opening, would make it easier for them to see or speak to someone. Only 2% of respondents felt that Sunday, but not Saturday, opening would make it easier for them. Younger people, those who work fulltime and those who could not get time off work were more likely to report that weekend opening would help. People with Alzheimer’s disease, learning difficulties, or problems with walking, washing or dressing were less likely to report that weekend opening would help.
Conclusion: Most people do not think they need weekend opening, but it may benefit certain patient groups, such as younger people in fulltime work. Sunday opening, in addition to Saturday, is unlikely to improve access.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e792-e798
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number641
Early online date6 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • general practice
  • appointments and schedules
  • delivery of healthcare

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