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How do we explain we have been dumped from out-of-hours?

As a partnership we feel very strongly regarding the choice of out-of-hours provider for our patients. From 1995 to the present time we have been members of a co-operative, East Derbyshire GPs – of which I am a director – providing high-quality care to GMS patients, community hospital inpatients and MIU patients.

We were fully accredited in November 2003, we have robust systems for quality and audit management and our patients have valued being seen by local doctors using the hospitals – in Ilkeston, Heanor and Ripley – as bases.

This has now been taken away from us with the PCT's decision to accept a tender from a much larger and more distant organisation. Patient choice does not appear to have been taken into consideration and local doctors are no longer able to provide the effective out-of-hours care they have developed and which was continuing to evolve.

Like so many similar scenarios across the country, we are again having to defend ourselves – explaining to patients that we have no choice regarding this, we have been forced into a situation that makes it look as though we are dumping them and their care, which could not be further from the truth.

Dr Gail Walton

Ilkeston

Derbyshire

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