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Independents' Day

Patients will now be less responsible

Many GPs expect the end of their 24-hour role will lead patients to be less responsible in their use of the health service.

Some 37 per cent of respondents expressed the view, compared with 29 per cent who felt patients would be more responsible.

Dr Carola Bronte-Stewart, a GP in Edinburgh, said only emergency cases should be seen out-of-hours, even if it meant GPs saw more routine cases during normal hours: 'I do not think using out-of-hours services to get a prescription for thrush is appropriate. If we do get more work then that's right and proper.'

GPC joint-deputy chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said patients would be more responsible: 'Patients are more willing to attend primary care centres out-of-hours now.'

Dr Maureen Baker, director of primary care at the National Patient Safety Agency, said primary care organisations and out-of-hours providers should work with patient groups to encourage more appropriate use of the NHS.

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