Report Urges Out-Of-Hours To Be Made Priority

Lack Of Doctors To Staff Out-Of-Hours Services

28.11.2014

Out-of-hours GP services are not being made a high enough priority by the NHS, according to a new survey of family doctors.

The Urgent Care Commission Report, led by former Department of Health tsar Professor David Colin-Thome, found 57% of GPs think out-of-hours services need to be a higher priority, while less than half (46%) think such services have enough resources to provide quality care.

A similar proportion (49%) said there is not sufficient integration between GPs working during the day and those working night shifts. The report concluded that GPs have been discouraged from working out-of-hours, leading to a chronic shortage of doctors for the service.

"Out-of-hours services have too often been treated as an 'add-on'," said Professor Colin-Thome.

"If they are better integrated with hospitals and emergency services, then a lot of people who currently spend hours sitting in A&E could be treated at home or get much quicker access to specialist care."

Expert Opinion
Patient safety should always be a priority and it is vital that the NHS ensures that the right resources are available for those who need care to access the necessary services.

"Through our work, we have seen many cases when people have suffered as a result of failings in care or miscommunication between medical professionals. Proper integration of services is a vital part of ensuring people can get the quality and safe support they deserve."
Lisa Jordan, Partner