Health secretary Jeremy Hunt hosted a round-table discussion on 6 August with 12 GPs and practice managers as part of the consultation on the plans which closes next month.
Devon GP and NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon, who was present alongside former RCGP chairman Professor Sir Denis Pereira Gray, said the group felt the plans were a ‘good idea’ and that there was a broad consensus.
‘We felt it was a good idea and that it was different from GPs being there every minute of the day,’ he said.
‘The first stage was to touch base with GPs to see whether they feel it was a good idea. Most of us felt it was good family doctoring.
‘We felt that it was different from a GP who might see them whenever they needed to be seen as that might not be possible, for example today I am in London.
‘There needs to be clear a pathway so that if we are not there, they know who else they can contact.
‘The discussion wasn’t about funding. There are options here. One option is that you could be paid for it under the QOF or through a DES.
‘There was real agreement that we needed to integrate services within primary care such as the district nursing service.’
Dr Dixon said that the group backed the named responsible GP having to ensure that vulnerable, elderly patients had access to out-of-hours services.
‘We actually felt that there should be link with GP and out-of-hours records,’ he said.
The group also supported GP co-ops to cover out-of-hours services.
‘The co-op model was a good model,’ Dr Dixon said. ‘It is one that had buy in from local patients and practices.’
In an exclusive interview with GP magazine Mr Hunt said that he wanted to transform GPs’ roles and free them up from bureaucracy so that they could take a more pro-active approach to the vulnerable, elderly patients on their lists.