Scottish LMCs Conference - LMCs split over Tory out-of-hours proposals

Representatives at the Scottish conference of LMCs in Glasgow last week could not agree if GPs should take back out-of-hours responsibility.

Dr Brown talks on out-of-hours
Dr Brown talks on out-of-hours

A motion called for the conference to reject Conservative party policy that responsibility for out-of-hours patient care be handed back to GPs.

The motion, proposed by Greater Glasgow and Clyde LMC member Dr Arun Rai, also warned that a return to 24-hour responsibility may not be safe for GPs or patients.

Some GPs warned they would quit if they were forced to take back out-of-hours duty, but others felt the profession was best placed to organise 24-hour patient care.

Dr Rai said: 'We have seen that at least one political party has floated the idea that GPs should take over responsibility for out-of-hours care.

'I welcome and demand greater involvement of local GPs in assessing, implementing and monitoring out-of-hours GP cover, but we don't want to give a 24-hour commitment and personal responsibility for out-of-hours GP cover.'

He added that a tired GP cannot provide high-quality care.

Dr Robert Flowerdew, a member of Lanarkshire LMC, said that since his practice gave up out-of-hours work, patient care had 'greatly improved'

because the doctors are no longer exhausted.

He said: 'If out-of-hours was brought back to the responsibility of our practice, I couldn't work in that practice any more.'

But Dr Sebastian Pflanz, a member of Dumfries and Galloway LMC, said the idea needed 'careful consideration'.

'Since its inception, NHS 24 has come under scathing attack from GPs with the suggestion GPs could do it better. I believe that is right,' he said.

Dr Georgina Brown, a member of Greater Glasgow and Clyde LMC, said: 'The out-of-hours service is historically a GP service and I can't see any reason why organised structures of GPs couldn't commission it.'

Despite the heated debate, the conference opted not to vote on the motion over concerns about its wording.

Click here for more coverage of the Scottish LMCs Conference

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