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Hebrides GPs able to opt out

Only one practice in the Outer Hebrides will be prevented from opting out of out-of-hours services.

The GPC said this confirmed that just a handful of practices will be unable to drop 24-hour cover.

Some GPs had been concerned PCOs would take advantage of an 'exceptional circumstances' clause to refuse to allow practices to opt out.

Of the 15 practices in the Western Isles, three have chosen to continue out-of-hours services. But the two-partner Barra medical practice, in Castlebay on the Isle of Barra, had applied to opt out.

Dr David Bickle, one of the GPs at the centre, said he could understand that the Western Isles Health Board had no option other than to refuse.

He said: 'It's a 45-minute ferry to the next island, five hours to the mainland or an hour and 10 minutes to Glasgow by plane.'

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