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Out-of-hours role ahead for ambulances

The Government's emergency care tsar has revealed the ambulance service could be used as the first point of contact for GP out-of-hours calls.

Professor Sir George Alberti said the Department of Health was looking at how patients could access emergency and non-emergency care through a single service. Options included extending the role of NHS Direct or using the ambulance service, he added.

Dr Mark Reynolds, chair of the National Association of GP Co-operatives, said some ambulance services could be brought into NHS Direct's remit. 'It seems to me entirely logical and possible that there could be plurality of services, some or all of which could come under the NHS Direct label,' he added.

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