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Out-of-hours opt-out even with No vote

GPs are determined to cut their out-of-hours workload even if the contract is rejected.

Several co-operatives, primary care organisations and LMCs have already drawn up proposals to allow GPs to give up or reduce their out-of-hours commitment in the event of a No vote.

Thamesdoc, a co-op in Surrey and Hampshire, plans to roll out a scheme employing locums to cover out-of-hours work on annual salaries of around £100,000, even if GPs reject the contract.

Chief executive Stephen Price said: 'We have taken the long-term view that GPs will opt out whatever happens. They have already had their lips whetted. If the contract is rejected, GPs will look to their out-of-hours providers to see if there is another way to opt out.'

Dr Ken Megson, secretary of Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC and a GP in Felling, Tyne and Wear, said: 'We have put a bit of pressure on the PCT which is going forward with a scheme already.

'Out-of-hours here will be run by a non-profit making public interest company, and hopefully we will go ahead with that no matter what happens with the contract.'

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