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GPs go forth

Out-of-hours shut down due to shortage of GPs

Out of hours services in Glasgow and Clyde have had to shut down services at short notice over the holidays due to a shortage of GPs.

NHS Glasgow has been forced to centralise services, use more nurse practitioners and enhance pay rates in an attempt to cope with the shortage of GPs and keep services open.

NHS Glasgow told Pulse that during the holiday period in particular, it was difficult to ‘fully staff’ its primary care emergency centres,

An NHS Glasgow spokesperson said: ‘Despite the assistance we get from GPs, including the support of many who come in at short notice, we have had to make short notice closures of centres when we do not have GP cover. The GP out-of-hours service remains under pressure to staff all GP rotas.’

In an attempt to relieve the pressure on its out-of-hours services, NHS Glasgow is now using a team of nurse practitioners who can see, treat and discharge patients and also perform a home visits.

The Scottish Government announced plans in April to trial a plan to give nurse practitioners a significantly enhanced role in out-of-hours care, as part of a £10 million investment in urgent GP services.

Nurse practitioners have been given an enhanced role in out-of-hours services across Glasgow and Clyde, as well as Fife, Highland, Lanarkshire and Grampian in a bid to ease the workload for GPs.

Elsewhere in the UK, out of hours services are being centralised in a bid to save cash. Earlier this month a rural out-of-hours service in Devon closed after NHS managers struck a deal for a single provider to deliver 111 and out-of-hours services in the area,




Readers' comments (24)

  • Pay them and they will come.

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  • Show me mortality and morbidity graphs please!

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  • Market forces will prevail-

    hope - the juniors will lead in this and hopefully kick up the ass for MR Hunt.

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  • So the idea is they take lots of clinical staff to create "clinical hubs" in 111 (sounds a lot like the discredited NHS Direct to me) and then wonder why there's nobody left to staff face-to-face?

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  • Demand could be reduced by saying 'no' to ridiculous, inappropriate requests for out-of-hours attention. That was done in the past when the service was run by doctors. Now that it's run by the health board and management obsessed by customer satisfaction, even those few remaining experienced, risk-balancing GPs who try to put the dampers on demand are in trouble with the management if someone complains because they did not get what they want. The regular abusers of the service are now accustomed to being seen without question about any trivial concern. Significantly reversing this expectation is probably now impossible. Increase the remuneration by at least 50% and there might be more GPs willing to work for the service.

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  • @12.33
    You are bang on the money.Shame no one will listen to you.

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  • The public need to be asked what they are willing to pay for their NHS and fund it properly. Every decision is made for short term in year savings that have lasting effects on moral and services. You can't provide a 21st Century service by 20th Century tax funded cash strapped inequitable annual allocation.

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  • so more people go to A+E and the system collapses. Lets hope the winter is a mild one.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    agree with 12.33. I am available for OOH shifts in Glasgow. £1800 per diem plus air fare from Bristol to Glasgow plus mileage to Bristol Airport plus car park charges plus indemnity. Or you can offer proper pay to Scottish GPs who know the local health system and would do a much better job than me...

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  • Free market in action, suck it up its going to be a bumpy ride!

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