DoH urges practices to improve urgent care

Practices could be forced to increase capacity to tackle urgent cases immediately under plans drawn up by a DoH adviser.

Photograph: SPL
Photograph: SPL

The plans could see practices obliged to treat patients who believe their case is urgent without appointments and to employ a GP responsible solely for responding to urgent cases.

More than a third of practices currently do not have the staff or resources to respond adequately to priority patients, according to David Carson, who has been commissioned by the DoH to review urgent care.

Recent conference presentations by Mr Carson – expected complete his report imminently – accuse practices of operating a system that creates ‘an inverse care law, with those with the greatest needs being left until last’.

Home visits to seriously ill patients are often not prioritised over non-urgent appointments, he claimed.

But the GPC has rejected the claims and said that more responsive urgent care could be achieved if funding for walk-in centres and Darzi centres had been was directed to existing practices.

  • See this week’s GP dated 20 February for the full story.
  • Is the DoH right to target urgent care?

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