Out-of-hours: Your views
Staff cuts, low morale and blame culture...
‘Across the country it seems the PCTs are struggling to provide a good-standard service within a manageable budget and are trying to utilise paraclinical staff to try to provide the service at affordable cost.'
Dr Gurmit Mahay, medical secretary of Wolverhampton LMC
‘Morale currently is very low. It never fails to amaze me how an extremely well-run out-of-hours service which should have been a jewel in the crown of the PCT and the Government has been so shabbily treated.'
Dr Guru Singh, Loughborough, Leicestershire
‘This is not really a failure of PCTs, who have not been given the resources to provide a good service, but ultimately a miscalculation by the Government in understanding what is really required to run an out-of-hours service.'
Dr Brian McGregor, York
‘We should do what we did before, a group of practices coming together in a co-operative fashion. It should not be too big as it loses focus – as we are seeing with present out-of-hours providers.'
Dr Ethie Kong, Brent
‘Nobody believed the GPs who tried to tell how much work was involved and how much it would cost, and now we are all paying the price of the disrespect of the unbelieving politicians.'
Dr David Church, Machynlleth, Wales
‘I was doing out-of-hours sessions but since the ambulance service has reduced the service since September I think it is unsafe, and so I am not willing to be involved. The standards are lower and the cover inadequate because there are not enough doctors on duty to cover this area.'
‘I think the whole ‘‘taking back'' of out-of-hours care issue is completely spurious. On the whole doctor's co-operatives do an admirable job and should be commended. The problem is that rising health consumerism is creating an unstoppable tide of demand for out-of-hours immediate care.'
Dr Nicholas Down, Oxshott, Surrey
‘My local care where I practise is quite good because it's our old GP co-op that has the contract. Most co-ops provided an excellent service for a very small amount of money because local GPs invested their own time and energy into the service.'
Dr Eric Rose, Milton Keynes
‘Somerset has a good out-of-hours service run by our local ambulance trust. At peak times, Sunday morning in winter for example, they just do not have the call-handling capacity to deal quickly with all the contacts, and probably never can. The LMC would like to see more staff on duty at peak times and also a focus on local triage and assessment.'
Dr Harry Yoxall, medical secretary of Somerset LMC
‘There is a fundamental problem with unconnected freestanding out-of-hours care, and that is the lack of feedback to the clinician. You can carry on making the same mistake for ever and if no one dies in an obviously blameworthy way, you'll never learn the error of your ways.'
Dr Arnold Zermansky, Leeds
‘The PCT has reduced funding post opt-out, and reduced the number of doctors on duty overnight by 50%.'
Dr Adam Pringle, Telford, ShropshireDr Ethie Kong: small GP co-ops can provide good out-of-hours care Dr Ethie Kong: small GP co-ops can provide good out-of-hours care