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Bradshaw: Handing back OOH to GPs would be 'a disaster'

By Steve Nowottny

Handing back responsibility for out-of-hours care to GPs would be an ‘absolute disaster' health minster Ben Bradshaw has warned, amid mounting concern over the future of the system.

MPs clashed over the issue in a tense debate following the high-profile case of David Gray, a Cambridgeshire man and father of a GP who died after diamorphine prescribing error by German locum Dr Daniel Ubani.

Mr Bradshaw defended the Government's decision to remove responsibility for out-of-hours care from the GP contract, arguing that under the previous system GPs had often been physically exhausted.

‘The Conservative idea of going back to the bad old days of forcing all GPs to provide out-of-hours services would be an absolute disaster,' he said.

But Conservative health spokesman Mark Simmonds said handing back responsibility would improve ‘fragmented and inconsistent' out-of-hours cover.

‘GPs are closest to their patients and the communities they serve, and are therefore in a significantly better position to commission out-of-hours care on their patients' behalf, without necessarily having to provide it themselves.'

Pulse revealed last September that ministers were discussing moves to hand practice-based commissioning groups across the country the power to run out-of-hours services, while last year's LMCs conference asked the GPC to consider moves for GPs to take on responsibility for commissioning out-of-hours services.

Mr Bradshaw said that while ‘something went terribly wrong' in the case of Mr Gray he defended existing levels of scrutiny of overseas doctors.

But Dr Richard Taylor, an independent MP for Wyre Forest and former hospital consultant, said: ‘The vetting procedures referred to by the Minister must be hopelessly inadequate to allow a cosmetic surgeon from Europe who did not even know the correct dose of diamorphine to work in this country.'

Ben Bradshaw: Handing back out of hours responsibility to GPs would be 'a disaster'

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