The CBI has called for changes to doctors’ hours after an official report showed GPs were working up to seven hours per week less than 15 years ago.
Health authority the Information Centre revealed that the nine in 10 GPs who have taken advantage of new contracts to drop out-of-hours work put in an average of 36.3 hours per week in 2006-07.
This compares to an average of 43.5 hours for doctors when the last survey was carried out in 1992 at that time they had 24-hour responsibilities.
CBI director of public services, Neil Bentley, said: “This survey demonstrates yet again that the current system of primary healthcare needs reform. The government must make this a priority.
“Last week, it was revealed that 10 million people cannot book a doctor’s appointment more than 48 hours in advance, and that millions of days of work are lost a year because of inflexible GP hours.
The CBI called for better access to GPs for employees, including better out-of-hours opening of surgeries.
Recent figures from Alliance Boots showed that businesses lose 28 million working hours and £1bn a year because employees schedule GP visits in working hours.