Letters: Correction - Hertfordshire PCTs' out-of-hours spend

I was surprised to read the front page of your 13 February issue showing that our Hertfordshire PCTs had incurred the third highest spend per head on GP out-of-hours services in 2007/8.

You are now aware that the figure quoted is approximately double of what it actually was, given that you used the population denominator of only one Hertfordshire PCT compared to the costs incurred by both.

Out-of-hours services in Hertfordshire were subject to a competitive tendering procedure in 2008 and the contract was secured by Herts Urgent Care, a GP-led social enterprise.

Hertfordshire PCTs supported our model of putting the local GP at the start and the heart of our service and since we started in September 2008 we have seen a large increase in the number of local GPs willing to undertake out-of-hours shifts.

Given our significantly higher GP rates than our private sector competitors and the fact that we superannuate all earnings we were delighted to be awarded the contract.

The fact that we are providing a service at less than the average cost per patient shown in your table shows not only that GP-led models can be competitive but that social enterprise providers can win tenders against incumbent private sector providers.

Mark Cockerton, chief executive, Herts Urgent Care

  • Editor's note: GP acknowledges that there was an inaccuracy in our report of 13 February and would like to apologise for any confusion that this has caused. GP's priority is to ensure that all of our stories are accurate, but in the course of putting together a busy weekly newspaper mistakes are very occasionally made. We always aim to clarify any errors or omissions as quickly as possible.

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