NHS Alliance wants GPs to take back out-of-hours

The NHS Alliance has called for GPs to take back responsibility for out-of-hours care.

The current out-of-hours system is confusing and unpopular, says the Alliance's latest report on the NHS. The document In Sickness And In Health argues that the new contract has diluted GPs' core role of providing personalised, around-the-clock care.

It suggests GPs should use practice-based commissioning (PBC) to share extended hours shifts and organise out-of-hours care.

Incentives for working unsociable hours regardless of local need will not improve patient care, the paper says. GPs taking responsibility for patients 24 hours a day will ensure continuity of care, it argues.

NHS Alliance chairman Professor Mike Dixon admitted that there may be an automatic reaction to reject out-of-hours responsibility by GPs.

But GPs would not necessarily be providers of out-of hours services, and the concept would not be imposed on GPs, he said.

‘It is a way of restoring the GP as a unit for providing and commissioning continuity of care. It will also save PBC budgets and ensure GPs have some control over who provides the service in their area,' he said.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

NHS Alliance

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