Don't turn the clock back on out-of-hours
I used to be a full-time partner working 50-plus hours a week and voted for the new contract to lose the 24-hour responsibility.
I had to work overnight once a week in a large practice and all weekend.
In those days it was just me in my car with my mobile phone. I don't think it would be up to modern standards. It was ridiculous and unsafe and our efforts went unrewarded.
With the advent of co-operatives, I was expected to do some out-of-hours work and so I took a pay cut to opt out. Practices were charged when a patient called the service. How on earth did we end up with that sort of deal?
I am now a locum and have time to do some out-of-hours work again, which in the Southampton area is well organised. I even enjoy doing it.
If there are more complaints about out-of-hours services now, I put it down to the increasing demands and expectations of our patients. I'm amazed the LMC vote was marginally in favour of GPs commissioning out-of-hours services. Why take on responsibility for a budget that will always be insufficient and under strain?
Let PCTs learn good practice from one another. Please don't turn the clock back.
Dr Heather Mycock, Southampton