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Out-of-hours: still sleepless nights remain

For GPs one of the biggest attractions of the new contract was the chance to hand over all out-of-hours to the PCO.

Only a few fortunate GPs will sleep well from April – most will have to wait until the end of the year to benefit.

The Government has given PCOs an extra £30 million for out-of-hours and stipulated that each PCO must have a GP on board to oversee out-of-hours care.

GPs looking on with a wry smile as PCOs struggle will have headaches on their own – Monday mornings when a 'flood' of patients appears, having been told to see their GP urgently after the weekend.

But the worst scenario will be if an out-of-hours service collapses round a PCO. It will have no option but to ask local GPs to rescue them.

GPs who have given up out-of-hours will have every right to exact a premium price to climb back on that treadmill.

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