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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Give out-of-hours control to GPs

1st October 2007

The Conservative Party has suggested that responsibility for out-of-hours health services should be transferred back to GPs.

GP contract1

Party leader David Cameron said the government’s decision to allow GPs to opt out of out-of-hours care under the new GP contract introduced in 2004 had reduced access for patients.

Under the plan, unveiled ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, the Tories said they were not planning to force GPs to work out-of-hours or to work extended hours but under their new health policy they wanted GPs to hold the budgets to commission out-of-hours services.

Currently, responsibility for out-of-hours care in the evenings and at weekends is held by primary care trusts.

The Conservatives say the NHS should also be more accountable to patients with patients allowed to choose a GP - whether close to home or work - and urgent care should be simplified with a 999 phone number for emergencies, or 116 116 for all other healthcare such as A&E, out-of-hours and walk-in centres.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said GPs themselves wanted a change in the contract.

But the British Medical Association reacted angrily to the proposals, saying politicians were trying to outdo each other on ill-informed policies.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s GPs Committee, said: “It is sad that the Conservatives have failed to understand why we needed a new GP contract. All sides recognised that the UK had too few family doctors.?

Labour’s health minister Ben Bradshaw said Tories were desperately playing catch-up on this issue.


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