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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP academic backs Tory OOH plans

A leading professor has backed Tory claims that responsibility for out-of-hours care should be put back in the GP contract.

Professor Roger Jones, professor of general practice at King's College London, said the 2004 contract that allowed practitioners to opt out of 24-hour responsibility had led to a situation in which the best-trained GPs concentrated their efforts on daytime care. Patients who became ill at night risked being seen by less experienced doctors, he said in a BMJ debate.

He warned that a parallel out-of-hours service led to fragmentation of care and potentially dangerous communication errors and was also more expensive to run.

‘I am not suggesting all GPs resume out-of-hours responsibility for their entire professional life. But it should be regarded as a core aspect of training and professional development, just as in hospital medicine,' he told the BMJ.

But Dr Helen Herbert, chair of the RCGP in Wales, attacked the proposals, saying sleep-deprived doctors should not be making life-threatening decisions.

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