I have one fundamental question - why SHOULDN't there be a named GP to take responsibility for patients out-of-hours? What a ridiculous question Steve Noworthy poses, namely "...but how will you pay for it?" Are GPs not paid enough already??? Yet, frustratingly, so many GPs' rooms are only open during office hours, closed after dark and all over weekends. Additional hours/late opening are given grudgingly, it would seem. I live in fear and dread of the day I have to call an Out-of-Hours Service in the middle of the night because, probably like many other citizens across the UK, you just don't know who is going to turn up (if they come) and what sort of care you're going to get. I believe, at the very least, a patient's registered GP should go out after hours if not a Nurse Practitioner from the same practice. What on earth is going on here? Patients have little choice about the GP they register with (I tried to stay with my same practice when I move a few miles down the road, but was hoofed off the list like an unwanted guest). GPs should hang their heads in shame at the way they're abrogating their responsibilities. Will it take another patient death at the hands of an imported Out-of-Hours doctor to improve things in this country?
I feel that doctors SHOULD be responsible for their own patients out-of-hours. How can you prevent disastrous events like the one caused by the infamous Dr Ubani happening if the patient's own healthcare professional is unavailable? This NHS is regarded as being world-leading, but it suffers many failings, one of the main ones being that GPs just don't seem to be prepared to take responsibility for their patients. Perhaps it's a function of the 'blame culture' we live in?