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Independents' Day

Act quickly or face out-of-hours chaos

I recently had the privilege of being part of the accreditation team for two out-of-hours providers in south-east London. Both provide extremely good service to their doctors and the local population and are to be commended.

But in one area it was clear there was very little support, if any, from one of their local PCTs. It looks as if a service that is as good as it gets is potentially to be allowed to founder.

This flies in the face of Department of Health policy which speaks of 'the development of mature partnership commissioning arrangements to build on existing expertise so as to allow the development of sustainable local networks'.

I would urge all doctors to ensure they engage their PCTs over the out-of-hours issue.

Unless they do there is a real danger that come April next year they might find the patients are not being looked after by the organisation that they would wish.

This might have implications on workload during the day.

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