Regional leaders of the review of the NHS are set to meet health minister Lord Darzi today to discuss emerging themes from their work.

Several have told HSJ that the government's drive to extend GP opening hours is not a priority for patients, clinicians and managers involved in the review.

NHS North West's executive lead for Our NHS, Our Future, Mandy Wearne, said: "There's an acceptance that extending opening hours is good for patients, but it hasn't been a major concern." Instead priorities for local focus groups included addressing postcode lotteries and mental health.

An NHS East of England spokesman said there was a broad concern around access to primary care, rather than extending hours.

He said: "It's about making sure people see the right person the first time they present."

Eight clinical pathway groups in each region are looking at areas such as children's health and long-term conditions. Their first draft reports have been written and will feed into Lord Darzi's final report in June.

NHS South Central clinical pathway group lead Dr James Cave said the thrust of the strategic health authority's work had centred on making services "more locally centred and focused on population needs". He predicted that regions would not get much choice over whether to extend GP hours. "It was a very politically driven message in the next stage review," he said.

Lord Darzi's interim review stated that any member of the public should be able to access GP services between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.

For more coverage of the row over GP hours, click here