Scotland 'needs radical overhaul of out-of-hours'

Scotland needs substantial out-of-hours reform because 'trust and confidence have clearly been lost', according to a report by the Scottish Parliament's health committee.

Dr Buist: the public are confused (Malcolm Case-Green)
Dr Buist: the public are confused (Malcolm Case-Green)

The report said NHS boards should be responsible for devising, and enabled to deliver, specific, sustainable and innovative arrangements so out-of-hours services meet the needs of local communities.

The report called for out-of-hours services to be fully joined up, and said work must be done to ensure NHS 24 operates 'as a fully effective' part of out-of-hours services.

However, the committee also warned that the economic climate could cause NHS boards to make decisions that undermine out-of-hours services.

'The committee would welcome a drive across the country towards solutions that deliver top quality services ... without depending on expensive methods such as buying in GP time at an hourly, ad-hoc rate,' the report said.

Dr Andrew Buist, deputy chairman of GPC Scotland, said: 'We believe that out-of-hours provision should be better integrated and we would agree that the public are confused about who to contact for out-of-hours services, and that this should be addressed.'

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