Out-of-hours GPs 'inadequate'15th March 2010
A government survey has found that some patients in England are receiving substandard out-of-hours GP care.
The survey, which had over 1.1 million respondents, revealed that in some locations one fifth of patients reported that care was "poor or very poor".
MPs have told trusts that they have until the close of 2010 to impose and follow new guidelines on care standards.
The survey comes after the death of a 70-year-old man in 2008, who died when he was treated by a German out-of-hours doctor who did not have any experience of working as a health service GP.
The study sent out 2.8 million survey forms and saw 40% filled out and returned.
The survey showed that Richmond and Twickenham Primary Cary Trust scored the lowest for out-of-hours care, as 21% of patients reported that care was poor or very poor. Hartlepool followed, with 20%.
High scorers were Central Lancashire, where 72% of patients who said the service was good or very good, and 77% reported good standards of care in Plymouth.
Across England 65% of respondents who had tried out-of-hours services in the past six months reported that care was good or very good, while 13% said it was poor or very poor.
15% of patients said they had found it difficult to find the medication they had been prescribed by out-of-hours doctors. 35% said they were not aware how the could get in touch with a GP outside normal hours.
Kieran Mullan of the Patients Association said: "We know that the primary care trusts aren't doing a good job in all cases and I think that the government have to take some responsibility for ensuring that they do."
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Title: Out-of-hours GPs 'inadequate'
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 14378
Date Added: 15th Mar 2010