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Call for OOH system review

PCTs have been ordered to review systems used by out-of- hours providers in an effort to boost patient safety.

The demand from the Department of Health follows the death from septicaemia of a

patient in London who was seen by eight different GPs.

In particular, PCTs must ensure that providers manually recording clinical notes on call sheets make those notes available to other health professionals who may need them.

Trusts have been ordered to amend the terms of out-of-hours contracts to include the requirement, taking unilateral action if the provider refuses.

Dr Mark Reynolds, a GP in Maidstone, Kent, and spokesperson on out-of-hours for the NHS Alliance, said providers needed systems to review previous consultations.

He said: 'The vast majority of providers have them, but some organisations have 200 calls an hour and not enough funding.'

An inquest in November last year found Penny Campbell used the Camidoc out-of-hours service eight times in four days during May 2005. It concluded clinical information 'was not always readily available to the last doctor in the chain'.

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