GP out-of-hours face scrutiny in emergency care review

GP out-of-hours services will be examined by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) as part of a wide ranging review of urgent and emergency care in England.

Sir Bruce Keogh said emergency and urgent care had become ‘increasingly complex and fragmented’ in England
Sir Bruce Keogh said emergency and urgent care had become ‘increasingly complex and fragmented’ in England

The review will examine how CCGs should reorganise emergency care services to boost standards. It is part of the NHSCB's bid to improve seven-day access to NHS care.

The role of GP practices in local urgent care will also be scrutinised, the NHSCB said.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, who will lead the review, said emergency and urgent care had become ‘increasingly complex and fragmented’.

His proposals will form a framework for CCGs to follow when commissioning emergency care in a bid to create more consistent standards across England.

Sir Bruce said: ‘The NHS is there for all of us and should offer appropriate, effective and rapid care whenever and wherever it is needed. Treatments for many common conditions such as heart attacks and strokes have evolved considerably over the last decade and are now best treated in specialist centres. Yet we know people want their A&E nearby.’

He added: ‘This makes me think we need to review the increasingly complex and fragmented system of urgent and emergency care, so that sick, anxious and often frightened people can get what they need when they need it.’

The review was first announced in December, when the NHSCB launched its guidance for CCGs, Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013/14.

The NHSCB said it would work closely with CCGs to develop the proposals, the first of which are due in the spring.

The review is part of the NHSCB’s push for greater access to the NHS seven days a week.

As well as emergency services, the review will also look at urgent care provided by GP surgeries, community care, and the 24-hour NHS 111 advice line.

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