GP hours not linked to rise in ambulance calls

GP leaders have rejected claims that changes to out-of-hours arrangements are to blame for a dramatic rise in the use of ambulance services over the last year.

The number of emergency calls received by ambulance services is reported to have risen by up to 20 per cent in the West Midlands and North of England, and by around 12 per cent in Scotland in 2006/7.

Ambulance unions say calls have soared in part because patients believe there is no other option following changes to GP out-of-hours arrangements under the new GMS contract.

But GPC deputy chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘It’s nothing to do with out-of-hours – if it was the increase would have happened some time ago.’

He said people should look deeper into reasons for the increase in calls.

 

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