Many GPs will extend out-of-hours role, says Lansley

Making GPs responsible for commissioning out-of-hours care will result in many deciding to play an 'enhanced role' in providing the service, the health secretary has said.

Dr Buckman: more control needed
Dr Buckman: more control needed

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman told GP he agreed this was a possibility, and said GPs could 'go back to the role they had before' by running co-operatives.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley made his remarks on out-of-hours in response to the GMC's decision to erase German locum Dr Daniel Ubani from the UK medical register, which he said resulted from a 'failing of the out-of-hours system'.

He said the system needed 'urgent reform', and GPs were best placed to ensure patients get the best care they need.

Mr Lansley said: 'If GPs are responsible for commissioning out-of-hours care, I believe many will decide to play an enhanced role in providing these services.

'Empowering GPs in this way will achieve better services for patients and more control of local services for GPs.'

Dr Buckman agreed that some GPs may choose to take back responsibility for out-of-hours care, but added there was 'no question' of GPs being made to do so. He said: 'We will go back to the role we had before, which is running a co-op. It will include how it works, who works for it and how experienced they are.'

He added: 'I agree with (Mr Lansley) that if GPs are in control of that then services will improve.'

The comments come after the 2010 LMCs conference narrowly voted in favour of GPs playing a central role in commissioning out-of-hours care.

At the conference, the GPC rejected warnings from some LMCs that GPs would inevitably become 'providers of last resort' (GP, 18 June).

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