Primecare's not abandoning you on out-of-hours
I read with great interest the story on Dr Anne Lawson indicating her concern about Primecare withdrawing services from Portsmouth ('Don't leave us in the lurch, GP tells Primecare' (News, February 16).
Primecare announced its decision to close its Portsmouth branch in January after local PCTs announced their decision to utilise a single provider in the area. This meant there was no role for Primecare in the long-term and no assurance of short-term viability even in the period leading up to the launch of the PCT-provided service.
Subsequent to that decision, more than 100 GPs in the Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth areas indicated to Primecare that they wished us to continue providing out-of-hours services for their patients. They were also willing to work jointly to overcome the local issues of clinical resource and financial viability.
We have been able to work co-operatively with the Fareham and Gosport PCT and are confident of being able to assist local GPs with out-of-hours provision to the end of 2004.
We are willing to do the same for the Portsmouth GPs and certainly have no desire for Dr Lawson and her colleagues to be left in the lurch. However, these efforts have been undermined by Portsmouth City PCT's failure to engage constructively in this process.
We are still working to assess whether we can assist Portsmouth GPs without the support of their PCT, but this now seems unlikely.
Dr Mike Sadler